Disco Goes Dark With Electronic Aesthetic On New Album
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 21:10
Panic! at the Disco took the world by storm in the mid-2000s with their unique, pop-punk repertoire which had just enough tones of emo to match the era. Known for their exceedingly wordy song titles and teen-angst vibe, the band has just released their fourth album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, almost 10 years after the band’s inception.
The new album is definitely a jump from their older material. It sounds a lot more brooding and introspective, the songs are slower and have a sinister aesthetic that ties in very well to the lyrics, which are ominous but still romantic.
The first single released from this album was “Miss Jackson,” an upbeat anthem very reminiscent of the band’s older style. The influences drawn from Fall Out Boy are palpable in this tune, but when listening to the album as a whole, it almost feels out of place. The other songs carry a mysterious and darker mood, while “Miss Jackson” sounds optimistic and prompts you to sing along.
The album’s second single, “This is Gospel,” which was released a few weeks ago, pertains a bit more to the album’s general tone. The heavily auto-tuned introduction serves a stylistic purpose, making the vocals sound heavy and mechanical, and the arena-rock-style dramatic chorus makes the track feel epic and grandiose.
It is important to note that the style shift the band has gone through does not make it lose its essence in the least. Instead, it shows that they were able to grow and change just as the times did. They experiment with mixing different styles, which is exactly what makes music interesting in the first place. In their new album, Panic! At the Disco has an ’80s synth pop influence mixed with the millennial rock they have always been known for. The heavier tone of this album goes to show that the band does well in showing growth and that they are not afraid of change.
The most notable track in the album has to be “Casual Affair.” Placed near the end, the song starts with an electronic-sounding introduction that mixes distorted guitars, a violin, and synthesizers. The slightly syncopated rhythm is a bit reminiscent of a dubstep-style progression, which adds to the unconventional yet ultimately pleasant style of the song. Although it is not an upbeat tune, it matches perfectly with the band’s new aesthetic.
The lyrics in the songs all relate to each other in one way or another, drawing commonly from themes of love and death, separately or together, for example in “Girls/Girls/Boys” or in “Far Too Young to Die.” The use of the ideas of love and death suggests a discussion of life’s absolute extremes—the best and the worst, which are so often tied together.
Even though it is not an upbeat album that prompts you to sing along, the band explores new horizons with their latest material.One or two songs may seem out of place because of the brooding and serious aesthetic of the others, but in general they are successfully able to integrate several different styles into their music, and for that the audience will be grateful. The album’s concluding song “The End of All Things” is the most melancholic of them all, which is ironic because it is absolutely a love song. It sounds sad, but the lyrics indicate a love so strong it can surpass anything, a love that is so complete that the person could die and that would be fine. The final line fits in perfectly with the whole album: “Lay us down, we’re in love.”