Panic! At The Disco (P!ATD) did it again. They’ve made another great album. They’ve transformed their fourth album, Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die, into a fantastic modern-pop album that actually sounds good. This band has never made the same album twice. Their first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, had fans dancing to it in clubs around the world. Then came Pretty. Odd., the Beatles-esque classic rock record. Vices and Virtues followed it with more of pop-punk essence, which was almost a safe move for the venturesome artists.
The Las Vegas band has definitely been noted for their out-of-the-box theatrical style in their albums and music videos. A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, was so stylistically different that fans are still comparing it to other P!ATD albums and other pop punk bands. Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die itself is a turn in another direction for P!ATD’s style. This album has it’s own message and personality much like the others. Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die supports that with it’s 80’s and Las Vegas inspired flair. This album has lead singer Brendon Urie singing about his love affairs and what it was like growing up in sin city.
The new direction has received mixed reviews. I’ll admit the first time I heard the new sound I did not like it at all. Urie’s vocals could have been more prominent. They tend to get washed out by all of the electronic and autotune effects (“Vegas Lights” and “Girl That You Love”). If you were to strip down most of effects you could hear Urie’s message and his strong charismatic voice in each of the songs better. Instead you have to try to ignore the distractions and pay attention to what Urie is singing. The tracks do have layers of sound and electronics orchestrated in various forms that certainly work well and fit the overall style of the album. “Girls/Girls/Boys” and “Far Too Young To Die” are two tracks that incorporate both the strength of Urie’s vocals and the computerized sound in a way that don’t lose either effect.
The essence of P!ATD is still present but it is not as clearly heard because of the hard electronic sounds. You might have to listen to it more than once to fully understand everything that is happening in each of the songs. It is still a good album and it is strong in relation to other electronic infused albums. Urie’s lyrics have matured but are still thought provoking and unordinary.
The album opens with “This is Gospel,” the second single and the best song off of the album. “This is Gospel” and the first single “Miss Jackson” can be seen as out-of-place because they don’t fit in with the other tracks. There are no hard electronic beats present. “Miss Jackson” actually sounds like it could have been on Fall Out Boy’s comeback album Save Rock and Roll. Then again, Fall Out Boy dipped their toe into some of P!ATD’s theatrical fashion with Infinity on High so, P!ATD was just putting the balance back in order.
Tracks “Nicotine” and “Collar Full” bring back Urie’s hedonistic lyrics, which was infused in P!ATD’s earlier work and was crafted to ingenious-perfection. The overall sound and lyrical sense has matured over the years. It is not all teenage love affairs. It encompasses both a sophistically constructed message and the urge to hit the dance floor. Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die is an album that will impress the old fans and win over new ones.
4 out of 5 stars.
Check out Panic! At The Disco’s video for “This is Gospel” below.
Kayla Culver, ’15, is a writer for the Reviews Blog. She is a multi-media journalism and communications (concentrating in public relations) major at Concordia. With her degree she hopes to break into the music industry and become a music journalist.