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'Death of a Bachelor' showcases a one-man Panic! At the Disco

By KARIC JONES / VN STAFF WRITER
On February 9, 2016

Panic! At the Disco is a far different band than it was when formed in 2004.

The once four-piece group has been downgraded to just longtime lead singer Brandon Urie.

That’s right, as elegantly described in the liner notes of 2016’s “Death of a Bachelor” Panic! is the Solo outlet of Urie, and on this album it shows.

Bachelor sounds and feels like a Las Vegas variety show on hallucinogenic drugs. The sounds follow the same theme but the lyrics, ideas and motifs are all over the place.

The lead single “Victorious” is about celebrating some sort of victory.

Urie said it came from never being good at sports, from never being picked first for the team. “But what I missed in that regard, I made up for in passion and intensity,” he said. The track has passion and intensity but lacks any lyrical substance despite being really catchy.

The second track might be the best.

“Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” is a song about a really good drunken night and finding out what happened the next morning. The “pre-Chorus Line champagne, cocaine, gasoline and most things in between” references the party that Urie is at in the song and it sticks in your mind like an earworm.

The Lyrics of this song are well written and the sampling of the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” makes the song even more of an earworm but not in a negative sense.

The third track “Hallelujah” is a song rooted in Urie’s growing up in a very devout Mormon family. This song’s intro might be it’s best part and that’s saying something, as the whole song is solid.

The intro is sampled from the Chicago song “Questions 67 and 68” and is accompanied by these spoken words: “A moment you’ll never remember, and a night you will never forget.”

“Hallelujah” is a song about letting go and forgiveness.

Urie also hits some painfully high notes on this track before he utters what may me the best lyrics on the album: “Being blue is better than being over it.” That’s another way of saying it’s better to feel sad than to be numb.

This track was released in April 2015 as the lead single and for a good reason. It may be the strongest track on the album.

The fourth track, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” is based loosely off Hans Christian Andersen’s short story of the same name. It is about taking what you want even if that makes you look bad.

The song also could have a deeper meaning about the glorious look of evil. Nevertheless, the track shows off Urie’s wide vocal range.

The title track is the fifth on the album and where everything starts to take a turn for the worst.

The Frank Sinatra-inspired track about Urie’s transition from single to married life showcases Urie’s voice but is not for my taste. 

The sixth and seventh tracks, “Crazy=Genius” and “La Devotee,” are each solid fast songs that make you want to sing along but like the rest of the second part of the album feel pedestrian and dull.

The good parts of this album are really good but the rest is very dull. “Bachelor” will make some best-of-year lists but if it makes my top five for 2016 it will have been a bad year for music.

I give it 3.5 of 5 stars. Go check it out but don’t threaten me with a good time. 

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