‘Death of a Bachelor,’ birth of a new soundWhile some tracks are spectacular, the album falls short
To millions of fans’ anticipation, Panic! at the Disco has released the messy, beautiful, wild, “Death of a Bachelor.” Despite many complaining about former drummer Spencer Smith’s and bassist Dallon Weekes’ departure from the official lineup, lead singer Brendon Urie has (somewhat) managed to maintain the band’s trademark sound.
The band’s previous albums, such as “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!” and “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” have featured songs that have been nominated for multiple awards. From the Teen Choice Awards to the Grammy’s, the reputation of the band is held in high regard. I was especially excited to listen to their newest album since the band originated in Las Vegas.
The first single released from “Death of a Bachelor” was “Hallelujah” — a strange combination of Urie’s typical powerhouse vocals, dragged down by building instrumentals which never quite reach their peak. This song is only one example of the album’s offbeat aura, which happens as a result of the wide and weird genres of each song.
Another single from the album is “Victorious.” While the chorus of the song is loud and proud (as good Panic! songs tend to be), the rest of the song is where Urie’s vocals take a turn for the eccentric. His voice strains to perform riffs in a deep register while simultaneously ringing throughout listeners’ ears. This quality may not be universally appreciated, but is undeniably unique.
In contrast to the harsh rock and more relaxed pop songs that are spread throughout the album, one or two stick out. Most prominently is “Impossible Year” which starts off slow and strong, and stays that way throughout much of the track. Urie has cited Frank Sinatra as an influence in some of the album’s work, and this influence becomes clear when listening to his deep, sonorous tone and somber, heartbroken lyrics.
The band excels in the songs that are truest to their rock/pop genre, see “Emperor’s New Clothes,” but I also found myself liking the other tracks, such as the chilled, poppy “LA Devotee.” Urie had a part in writing each song, and clever lyrics like “Invisible to the Hollywood shrine/Always on the hunt for a little more time/Just another LA devotee” are testament to his talent.
Many of the individual songs within this album are stunning both lyrically and vocally/instrumentally, but the album as a whole is disjointed. The different sounds that Panic! at the Disco incorporate into this album are interesting and attention catching, but a closer listen reveals how Urie’s vocals are not quite within their comfort zone.