In middle school, I listened to mainly the following bands: Sum 41, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, A Day to Remember, Blink 182, The Offspring, Linkin Park, and Panic! At the Disco. Now, all of those bands have some songs that I still listen to, but Panic has been the only one that has really carried over into my later years. I honestly still love this band (or solo project now, since every member has left except for frontman Brendon Urie.) Since their uneven debut, they’ve been a commendably catchy band that I’ve always been able to rely on for a great melody, despite them attempting so many styles. For a mid-2000s, emo-pop-punk band, Panic is pretty adventurous. Throughout their discography, you can hear the sounds of pop punk and verbose musical theater tinged rock on their debut, Beatles inspired psych-pop and pop rock on their sophomore effort (their best and honestly a core album for me), eccentric and detail heavy pop music on their post breakup “Vices and Virtues,” and more standard pop on their last album, their first disappointment for me. Coming after the last record, and given the fact that Urie was the only remaining member, I wasn’t expecting too much from this new album here. And I didn’t get too much, but I did get a lot of really strong hooks to take with me, and sometimes, that’s good enough
Like I said above, Panic has a history of hopping styles and being quite eccentric despite the scene they’re associated with. “Death of a Bachelor,” however, drifts even further than the last effort towards cut and dry pop music. These songs are lacking in all of the subtlety that makes albums like “Pretty. Odd.” and “Vices and Virtues” hold up so well, but I’m still not a hard man to please. These songs are just so catchy. They’re loud, too bombastic for their good, and kind of annoying at times, but the melodies are undeniable. The big single, “Hallelujah,” is trite, generic, and would send the biggest scowl ever across the face of your musical elitist friend, but boy is that hook memorable. I can say the same for tracks like the epic “Golden Days” and the energetic “Crazy=Genius” as well. Other tracks here do get too loud and obnoxious for their good, so much so that the hook gets lost, like on “Victorious,” “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time,” and “Emperor’s New Clothes,” but overall, this album is dumb, catchy fun.
The best songs are when Brendon kind of chills out and writes less obnoxiously, though. By far, the standout here is the title track, which brings that regal, elegant, high-fashion vibe that “Vices and Virtues” did so well, with luscious strings and some saxophones that fill out the mix well and back up more of Brendon’s ridiculously catchy melodies. There is also the piano led closer which again brings that same vibe, and goes over really well, with Brendon really hamming up the show-tuney melody and making it sound like it belongs in a musical. A nice, subtle end to an album full of non-subtlety.
“Death of a Bachelor” is big and dumb, and sometimes insufferably so, but it’s also, like every other Panic album, insanely catchy and fun. I don’t need my pop music to reinvent the wheel, and this album doesn’t try to, it just offers up a bunch of catchy tracks, and sometimes that’s all I really ask for sometimes.
Standout Tracks: “Hallelujah” “Death of a Bachelor” “LA Devotee” “Golden Days” “Impossible Year”