Imagine a world without Panic! At The Disco. Having trouble? ‘Death of a Bachelor’ introduces the daunting concept that their lifeline Brendon Urie isn’t immortal.
If Fall Out Boy’s ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ had you on the edge of your seat this time last year, Panic!’s place in the lasting emo trinity is earned once again by their fifth full-length. These days, however, it’s tough to tell whether to reference Panic! as a “they” or a “he”, given founding member Brendon Urie is the last man standing. However, it’s impossible to tell this entire record relies on him alone, as ‘Death of a Bachelor’ proves as fundamental to their development as that elusive exclamation mark.
Brendon knows exactly how to kick off such an anticipated release, opening on the punchy gravitas of lead single ’Victorious’, name-dropping like its life depends on it and casually dropping some incredible analogies like, “50 words for murder and I’m every one of them.” The Pulp Fiction-meets-James Dean groove of ‘Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time’ menaces its way into the gospel optimism of ’Hallelujah’, which on the whole appears as the weaker black sheep of the record.
Grasping the otherwise morbid concept of Brendon’s character’s mortality as suggested in the video for ‘This Is Gospel’, the petrifying ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ instantly displays how he can handle this band with his own two hands. No matter how many decades it’s been since you last said “finders keepers, losers weepers”, you’ll be saying it for weeks now.
The suave Sinatra-esque title track effortlessly lays the dancefloor for the ‘20s energy of ’Crazy=Genius’ which would happily own a slot on Jay Gatsby’s playlist. Similarly, the towering catchy denunciation of the City of Angels in ‘LA Devotee’ is the sing-along Panic! track we’ve waited for since ’05. However, the fun stops there.
Sadly, the record suffers a triple misfire and shunts the word “flawless” right out of this review. Flinging back to the quirky Pretty.Odd era, ‘Golden Days’ frames the corny ‘The Good, the Bad and the Dirty’, while the swaying ‘House of Memories’ brings this trio of uneventful fillers to an end. However, on that note, the solemn closing melody of ‘Impossible Year’ presents Brendon’s signature breathtaking high notes to suggest that this was a minor blip.
Sure, the days where start-to-finish perfect Panic! records were left behind the moment ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ ended its reign, but ‘Death of a Bachelor’ is still an incredibly addictive addition to their catalogue. Long live Brendon Urie.
’Death of a Bachelor’ by Panic! At The Disco is out now on Fueled By Ramen.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)