Proving itself to belong, without a doubt, on the Suicide Squad soundtrack, Panic! At The Disco's cover of the Queen classic hits new heights as it dives into the vibrancy and electricity that can only be found with a Bohemian Rhapsody cover done well. Finale material.
Today is the day! Suicide Squad, the most heavily anticipated film of the summer, comes to the big screen featuring the likes of Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, and Will Smith coming together to play DC’s classic villains, but its equally explosive soundtrack boasts a perhaps more impressive variety of artists, including Twenty One Pilots, Lil Wayne, Skylar Gray, and Panic! At The Disco. The latter’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ the seventh single from the record and fourth to be premiered as Zane Lowe’s World Record on Beats 1 this week, is suitably manic.
It’s no secret that the band has revelled in its cover of the Queen classic, having performed it at various gigs around the world for a few years now. I was lucky enough to catch the Brendon Urie-fronted group – technically the only permanent member of the band left – at Slam Dunk Festival this year, where they indeed treated the crowd to a version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ that can only labelled as absolutely electric, complete with an impressive falsetto, a stunning guitar solo, and the tearful, manic fire of the crowd’s fervour.
Whilst the recorded version starts on shaky legs, the opening line we all know and love sounds a little like its being recorded straight from the mouths of those little, yellow minions from Despicable Me, its integrity and, indeed, its intensity, grows two-fold as the lead vocals take hold. When the first “MAMAAA” hits to take Urie’s voice to its first peak, the song sends shivers down the spines of every listener, whether fervent Panic! fans, obstinate Queen fans, or otherwise indifferent. I challenge you to look me in the eye and say you didn’t get that magnetic shiver flutter its way down your spine at least once. Absolutely, that’s the power of a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ done well, but more so it’s the power of Panic! At The Disco and Urie’s stunning voice.
As the minutes go by and those smooth vocals melt through the air, intertwining with a flawless guitar and bass line, it almost reaches the a therapeutic realm until the galileos begin to drop with the rhythmic plink-plonk of the piano cuts that first soaring guitar solo. “I see a little silhouette of a man,” Urie chimes, with his voice contorted slightly to sound vintage and old-timey, at the first moment that the rendition sounds like it really belongs on the Suicide Squad soundtrack. Its dive into that magnificent crescendo of stunning urgency is just as perfect for head-banging as the original.
Finishing back on the smooth side with that magnetic vibrancy from the song’s climax hanging deliciously in the air, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ spirals down to its almighty finish. Urie floats down until that last cymbal crash, those last lingering strings, and the whispering final bow. The finish, however, is far from being melancholic, with that sense of heart-racing, truly electric fun still fresh. Panic! At The Disco’s cover is something of a carnival, with so many instruments forming a seamless parade of absolute unadulterated joy. New instruments unfamiliar to the original are brought forward to offer striking peaks to the song, whilst Urie’s voice is at its finest, with much of the song reminiscent of the group’s Pretty. Odd. era.
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is out now via Atlantic Records