Brendan Urie returns with the first Panic! At The Disco from 2018’s “Pray For The Wicked” album.
For all intents and purposes, the band we knew and listened to in the mid-2000s is no more. Panic! has been a solo vehicle for vocalist Brenan Urie since 2015. Which says a lot that he’s been able to keep pushing forward on his own and even so far keep the momentum going with a new album.
Opening with the lively title track “Viva Las Vengeance,” Urie nods to the original OG punk with those resounding chords reminiscent of The Clash (“Career Opportunities”). But everything else that follows is the pop-infused punk and rock style we’ve long heard from Urie.
Urie/Panic! again gives another nod to The Clash on the intro of “Middle Of A Breakup” but the rest is emo-pop as Urie sings the hook line “makeup sex in the middle of a breakup” in his high-pitched voice.
More retro sounds follow in “Don’t Let The Lights Go Out” which reminds us of mid-70s pop ballads (a’la ABBA and Elton John). And yeah, Urie really pushes his voice as he sings “Who’s gonna drive me tonight / Who’s gonna argue till they win the fight? / Only you know how to run my heavy machinery.
Urie/Panic! borrows heavily from Thin Lizzy (“Boys Are Back In Town”) on how he approaches the verses of “Star Spangled Banger” as he sings about his youth, perhaps when playing in a band was still only ‘a dream. Here Urie intones, “We’re the electric angels / we’re the six-string queens / we’re the new Dead Kennedys / in the land of the brave / home of the monsters.”
On “God Killed Rock And Roll“, Brendan Urie looks to Queen for inspiration for the song. Check out the piano work that seems to play and bend on “Bohemian Rhapsody” even though the guitar solo is inspired by Brian May. The title itself is also an echo of Ardent’s (British rock band) old song “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” which was later popularized by a KISS cover.
Other obvious “tributes” on the new Panic! is “Say It Louder” reminiscent of The Police’s “Roxanne”, The Beatles’ “The End” on “Sugar Soaker” and Queen on “Something About Maggie”.
Which isn’t to say that Urie stood straight up, adjusting your ears just enough for you to wonder, “Where have I heard that before?” And then continue on its merry way without really encroaching on these big names. But yes, Brendan Urie is among the best.
And yes, they are also a lark to listen to.
There are many, but Brendan Urie’s best line on “Viva Las Vengeance” is from “All By Yourself” – a song about choosing to be different from where he sings. “three minutes thirty seconds of a rock and roll record is all you need to know, live forever in a day.”
Brendan Urie reportedly recorded on an 8-track tape recorder to capture a retro vibe for “Viva Las Vengeance.” Which we will agree that Urie was able to achieve. Producers-songwriters Jake Sinclair, Mike Viola and Butch Walker.
“Viva Las Vengeance” by Panic! At The Disco, under the label Fueled by Ramen, was released by Warner Music on August 19th.
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