Panic! At the Disco fans are usually eager to discuss the band’s reputation for their in depth, detailed lyrics and strong, passionate vocals, but lately it seems that there’s not much to talk about. Panic’s latest album, Too Weird To Live, Too Rare to Die! was released this week on Oct. 8. The first two tracks, “This is Gospel” and “Miss Jackson,” were released early as singles previous to the full album release. Those who actually purchased the tracks have saved themselves time and money, as they are the only songs actually worth noting on the album.
Saying that the songs are notable is actually a bit of an overstatement. Upon the first few listens, “Gospel” and “Miss Jackson” seem catchy, but like the album’s other eight tracks, they quickly become annoying and repetitive. Panic’s lead singer, Brendon Urie, is known for his outstanding voice, but in Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!, it has been heavily and unnecessarily covered up in auto-tune and synth. Panic! seems to be diverting from their punk/alternative reputation and appears to be shooting for a more pop/dance vibe.
Although some of the beats on Too Weird are appealing, the repetitiveness of the lyrics makes the songs seem one dimensional and empty. “Vegas Lights” and “Casual Affair” have attention-grabbing audio samples and catchy beats to start the songs off, but as soon as Urie starts singing the beat becomes repetitive and soon the lyrics do as well.
A catchy intro isn’t enough to keep people listening if the lyrics aren’t going to take the song anywhere. Urie’s singing on the tracks is also unusually monotone for the range he has displayed in previous albums like A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. This is exemplified strongest in Too Weird’s fifth track, “Girl That You Love.”
Not only are the vocals boring, but most of the song is just Urie repeating the words, “girl that you love” over and over. The only song on the album that tells a story is “Girls/Girls/Boys,” which could be interpreted as the trials of a boy stuck in a love triangle with a girl who also likes girls.
Too Weird’s other songs minimally establish a point with the lyrics, then Urie just repeats a phrase over the same beat. In the fifth track, “Nicotine,” Urie repeats, “yeah you’re worse than nicotine… nicotine” for the majority of the song, seemingly sucking the life out of it and the rest of the album.
Some of Panic’s dedicated fans have jumped to the defense of the band, claiming that the album is only receiving poor reviews because of the change in sound. The band’s first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, was a massive hit in the Emo/Pop Punk world when it premiered in 2005. For their second album, Pretty. Odd., Panic! went with lyrics that were less dark and attempted a more upbeat sound. This was taken poorly by reviewers and listeners in the Pop Punk world, but Pretty. Odd. still held up as a good album thanks to Panic! At the Disco’s great lyrics and vocals.
Panic’s reputation as a great band isn’t because of a set genre and sound they follow. In fact, each of their previous albums has had a completely different sound from the last. The reason Panic! has been successful is because of the quality of their lyrics and Urie’s vocal abilities. Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! is an eager attempt at upbeat dance pop but lacks most of the ingredients that Panic! has deemed necessary for a decent album.
2 out of 5 stars
Selene SanFelice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.