The return of Panic! and the Disco made me instantly regress back to my 15 year old, American emo-pop phase. Who am I kidding? I’ve always loved and always will love those bands that got me through my teens; those years summed up by the words of Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy and potentially the most important lyricist of my teens, Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco. A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, the first (and in my opinion, finest) of Panic!’s albums will remain in my favourite album list until the end of time. It is electro-dance-emo-pop-alt-rock at it’s best.
Now, moving away from the glory days of 2005, we’re in 2013 and Panic! at the Disco have a new record titled Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die. Opening with spectacular latest single ‘This is Gospel’ Panic! set the bar very high. Having listened to the single non-stop since the release of the fabulous music video, I’m expected this standard of song for the rest of the album tracks. Sadly I shot myself in the foot by obsessing over this single. I’m now disappointed by the reasonably good songs. However, being spoilt by good music is something I can’t honestly complain about.
Next up is lead single ‘Miss Jackson’ with the rarity of guest female vocals opening up, a new Panic! Sound comes to a head, one reminiscent of Fall Out Boy’s comeback record Save Rock and Roll. A heavier approach to the chorus, with chant-like vocals, it seems they have moved further away from the pop we’re used to towards a more rocky vibe. This doesn’t last long, after getting the two singles out of the way the album moves into a heavily electronic filled zone. ‘Vegas Lights’ and ‘Girl That You Love’ are somewhat forgettable upon a first listen. Both tracks over power the band’s main selling point, Brendon’s vocals, with heavy electronic dance beats. The auto-tune on his voice is also unnecessary, I prefer hearing Urie sing his beautifully, and eloquently crafted lyrics without a machine manipulating them.
‘Nicotine’ injects a powerful dose of excitement into the record. Upon my first listen of the album I wrote in my notes the word ‘YES!!!!’ (with 4 exclamation marks). I now have the ‘you’re worse than nicotine’ line stuck in my head and it’s been there for a least 3 days straight. If you don’t listen to all of the album at least make sure you listen to ‘Nicotine’, one of Panic!’s strongest tracks to date. The rest of the album slips off the radar a little yet the tracks aren’t all bad, they’re just not at the high level we’re used to. ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ is rather lazy with it’s lyrical repetition yet has a very catchy hook. ‘Collar Full’ shows off Urie’s vocals and lyrical ability nicely and has a sing-a-long chorus. Another track I quite like on the track, but it is still no ‘But It’s Better If You Do’.
Overall the album is a solid comeback effort for the Panic! boys, but it really is a shame that their debut was so great. I’m going to stop living in 2005, move back to 2013 and give it more time as I have found it to be more of a grower than a shower. The more listens I give the record, the catchier the songs get, it just wasn’t immediately impressive.
You can stream Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die in its entirety here on YouTube.
To be released on 8th October on Decaydance