By Teen Blogger, Jonathan
Panic! At The Disco is a band that has never shied away from taking a few risks.
Completely change your lineup and genre 4 albums into your career? Sure.
Release your album alongside a Duran Duran-inspired single about bisexuality? Why not?
Use a Sesame Street sample in a song about clubbing? Sounds good to me.
It’s things like this that make Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! such a unique album. From start to finish, anything goes.
Singer and primary songwriter Brendon Urie has described the album as a tribute to his hometown of Las Vegas, and that’s evident in every aspect of the album’s sound. From the grooving bass lines to the pumping drums to the intentionally computerized vocals; everything has a glamorous aesthetic, with an underlying gritty edge. Even the rainbow-coloured smoke of the album cover perfectly echoes the album's inspiration.
Another aspect that adds to this is the album’s combination of vintage and modern sounds. Brendon Urie’s beautiful clean vocals are often backed up by a chorus of auto tuned harmonies. Analog synths are piled on top of modern dance beats. Drums alternate between acoustic and electric, or sometimes overlap both. My favourite example of this is “Far Too Young to Die” which gradually builds layers of synthesized loops until the final chorus where it bursts into driving hard rock finale.
This album also contains some of Panic! At The Disco’s most personal lyrics. Subject matter includes drummer Spencer Smith’s drug addiction (“This Is Gospel”), the twisted relationships that are so common in a city like Vegas (“Miss Jackson”), the aforementioned song about being bisexual (“Girls/Girls/Boys”), and a stunning ballad based on Brendon Urie’s own wedding vows (“The End of All Things”). All of it is presented with the same glamorous/gritty theme as the rest of the album. To be honest, the lyrics never say anything mind blowing, but they fit in with the music well enough that that’s not really a bad thing.
Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die excels at something few bands are able to accomplish: it’s cohesive.
The album experiments a wide variety of different styles, but keeps a consistent focus that strings all of them together. This makes the album enjoyable both as a collection of individual songs and as a single unit.