Review: Death of a Bachelor

4.5 stars

What do you do when your audience grows up? For artists who are producing music for even more than five or ten years this is a serious question but Panic! at the Disco seem to have completely nailed it.

Death of a Bachelor is their fifth studio album and once again they have achieved the fantastic feat of pursuing a slightly different style for each album while maintaining their signature sound.

While this doesn’t have the marked difference in genre that we find in Pretty. Odd their latest album is slightly different to the alternative, electro pop, baroque sound of their other previous albums. The synthesis of rock and pop, alongside the title signifies a turning point in Brendan Urie’s own career, as well as perhaps an acknowledgement that their audience from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out are no longer angsty teens but grown adults who are also going through changes in their lives.

For this reason the Fall Out Boy-esque feel of songs like Victorious and Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time can be taken as somewhat ironic, as they are consigned to the memory books by songs like House of Memories and Death of a Bachelor itself.

Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time is a standout track with what seems to be a hark back to rose tinted, alcohol sodden good times through the repeated refrain of ‘champagne, cocaine, gasoline’ but the song is upbeat and powerful enough to feel empowering rather than elegiac.

It is catchy lyrics like this and those of The Good, the Bad and the Dirty that have most likely given this album it’s success with a pop feel, but still far enough removed from the usual chart fayre to be refreshing.

Listening in track order does have the unfortunate effect of an underwhelming ending, with a compulsion to skip starting to kick back in; we clearly want to hang on to the good times too. However let’s face it, in a world where Spotify and shuffle exists the track listing order matters far less than it did for the band’s first album.

With the ending the album harks back to the show tune quality seen particularly in earlier albums but with a definitive twist: This Impossible Year is a ballad style song pulled straight from Broadway, with an earnestness and sincerity that completely contradicts the more cynical showman tracks like There’s a Good Reason These Tables are Numbered Honey. While it is different, and a great song of itself, it isn’t the Panic! everyone loves and knows and is likely to be sidelined in favour of the catchier, dancier, more riotous tracks.

Now quite literately a one man band, this album is really a solo effort from Urie but his decision to keep to the band’s brand speaks volumes. Because of this we can’t underestimate the personal element of this album for both Urie and his fans. It is almost certainly a celebration of and farewell to a certain era, but hopefully it won’t be the final farewell. If this fantastic album is anything to go by, Panic! is set for a very successful future.

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