The Biggest Transformations of the Decade: Panic! at the Disco

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Starting out their days as an emo/pop-punk band from Nevada, Panic! at the Disco soon found fame with their debut studio album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005). The album still holds up as one of the most exciting debuts of the era, holding its place as a fan favourite album amongst their discography; it showcased a style that felt so unique to the music scene at the time.

A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out feels like a story album, and with its release it brought the lyricism and narrative of Panic!’s musical stylings that have now become iconic throughout their earlier discography, with the following records Pretty. Odd. (2008) and Vices and Virtues (2011). With Fever came one of the most famous Panic! songs of all time, the quirky fast-paced ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’. Vices and Virtues, a personal favourite of mine, gives off a real steampunk witchy vibe with the minimised band and short studio time arguably fuelling the true emotion of the record. With a magical atmosphere in tow, the album offered songs such as ‘The Ballad of Mona Lisa’, demonstrating the band’s wackier side, and the beautiful ‘Sarah Smiles’, an ode to lead singer Brendon Urie‘s wife.

After a reasonable un-official hiatus, in the band 2012 they came back with a new style and updated overall atmosphere. Their fourth studio album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! (2013) opened up a new world for Panic!, highlighting the incredible talent of frontman Brendon Urie as they experimented with electronic synths and reverbed vocals. With a new lease of life, albums began to speed up as the band moved into a different era; one that took pop, dance and classical influences, creating a revamped Panic which brought the band closer to the interests of listeners across the globe. Their latest two albums, Death of a Bachelor (2015) and Pray For the Wicked (2017), were both met with open arms by fans, even those who perhaps missed the original Panic!. Tracks such as ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘High Hopes’ graced our airwaves and racked the band up some genuine mainstream credibility, something that many alternative bands have struggled to find.

It’s not only musical style and influence that’s changed for Panic’ there’s been a clear shake-up of band members since the original line-up in the early 2000s, with all but Brendon Urie remaining from the band’s early days. From guitarist Ryan Ross leaving under a cloud way back in 2009 and drummer Spencer Smith parting ways with the band due to difficult personal troubles, all the way to bassist Dallon Weekes leaving the band quite recently in 2017 to focus on IDKHOW, the band has become one that really only portrays the stylistic tendencies and choices of Urie himself. It’s pretty impressive that they’re still a band, and especially one that is ever-growing in popularity and slowly but surely edging itself into the global mainstream.

It’s really incredible when you can look back at a band and see their progression as one which is both personal and musical. Whilst they’ve come across some bumps in the road, seeing one of the original 00s emo bands become a true success story is something that can’t be beaten. From the days of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out all the way to their latest album Pray for the Wicked, Panic! at the Disco have truly transformed themselves over the past decade into one of the biggest acts of the noughties.

Check out Panic! At The Disco’s track ‘Death of A Bachelor’, from the 2015 album of the same name (available via Fueled by Ramen), down below.

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third-year film student & records/live exec 20/21

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