Ashley Parent, Staff Writer
The band that graced the OH Fest X stage kicked off a new year for music right by dropping a new album on January 15. Death of a Bachelor is Panic! At The Disco’s fifth studio album, released on both their traditional home label, Fueled By Ramen, and Pete Wentz’s label, DCD2. The album was both composed and entirely recorded by the band’s lead singer, Brendon Urie, who now is the sole creative contributor for the group. The album made it to the number one slot in the Billboard 200, a first for Panic!, and 190,000 units were sold in the first week.
Formerly known for their emo rock sound with a pinch of vaudeville, Panic! At The Disco has progressed into a more pop and hip-hop inspired act. Urie produced an album that is more synthetic and digitally driven than previous albums. Death of a Bachelor continues to stand out from generic pop with its use of powerful vocals and both brass and rock band elements. There is no doubt that Urie is inspired by his wife, Sarah, and Las Vegas, the city he grew into as an adult.
Each track is different from one another and reminiscent of past Panic! tunes. The album also contains songs that resemble twentieth century pop acts like Queen. Urie approaches the highest moments of vocal intensity from an Adam Lambert perspective, and the more emotive bits had a dab of Frank Sinatra. Though the band has decreased in size over the years, which is a clear trend for Fueled By Ramen bands, Urie has branched out and explored the musical realm with Death Of A Bachelor, reaching and surpassing his unrealized potential from the Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die era.
From the moment listeners hit the play button for Death of A Bachelor, they are greeted by an exuberant choir that sets the scene for a party; especially with the second single off the album, “Victorious”.
“Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” samples the riff from “Rock Lobster” by The B-52’s while evoking jazzy vocals that date to Urie’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out stylizations.
Another track that instills nostalgia is “Crazy=Genius”, which employs driving drums and shouty horns. Urie challenges the old in songs like “Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Hallelujah”, and “The Good, The Bad And The Dirty” which all provide a more radio-friendly sound given its poppier elements.
“LA Devotee”, “Golden Days”, and “House of Memories” stick to the tradition that has existed since 2011’s Vices & Virtues, the band’s first album following a major lineup change and straying from the overly dramatic burlesque approach.
The album’s title track, “Death of A Bachelor”, worships Sinatra but with a modern twist of heavy bass — almost like the updated movie version of The Great Gatsby. This song is where Urie offered musical theatre-esque vocals, though the album’s final ballad, “Impossible Year”, is a Stephen Sondheim way of ending a musical work: leaving the listener perplexed and in retrospect of what was just experienced, while providing great visuals.
Death Of A Bachelor is not necessarily the best Panic! At The Disco album, but it is memorable and proves that Urie is a genius songwriter, capable on his own. The album partners innovation with recreation, and in essence is a circumnavigation for the band as it connects back to Panic! At The Disco’s roots. Go see the OH Fest alum this summer on a co-headlining tour with Weezer. Death Of A Bachelor is not something to pass up in a live setting.