The Vices & Virtues Of Panic! At The Disco

A guy like me could lose a lot of credibility listening to bubblegum pop like this, but don’t deny it, you LOVED Panic! At the Disco when A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out hit the airwaves like a nuclear panty dropping bomb back in 2005. I’m not embarrassed to admit the fact my friends and I used to sing that album word for word on many drunken occasions and I’ve had long conversations with the most metal of dudes about how the band is the epitome of music you can’t escape from. And to be fair, Panic! deserved it: they had a fresh new sound, catchy melodies, and lyrics that could talk the habit off a nun.

Then Pretty. Odd. came out and everyone stopped caring about Panic! At the Disco, who apparently thought they were the next Beatles. Fans were pissed that a band they loved so dearly could try to create their own sound instead of writing techno influenced Fall Out Boy B-sides, so the band’s popularity dwindled. Around this time (or before) I remember a video of Brendon Urie getting nailed in the head with a bottle thrown from the crowd. I don’t know the guy, but he just looks like he’s probably a huge douche and slips roofies into women’s drinks. He is from Vegas, after all.


Well, America’s favorite guilty pleasure is back with Vices & Virtues, which was released yesterday (March 22). The album marks the debut of the band as a duo after many years of bitching and fighting, probably over who gets to French kiss Pete Wentz first, which led to an inevitable breakup. Now, only singer Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith are leading the effort, something that should make anyone nervous. Imagine your favorite band and then eliminate everyone except the singer and drummer. Scary.

After giving Vices & Virtues a listen, I thought it had all the markings of a good album: catchy, a diverse range of musical instruments and influences, good song structures, and decent vocals. The more I’ve listened to it since, however, the more it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Sure, it’s a little bit closer to A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out than Pretty.Odd. but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s pretty apparent to me now that this album was made with the purpose of continuing the Panic! At the Disco brand and make a quick buck. Will it? Probably. A few tracks stand out as typical commercial fodder. But when your producer (John Feldmann) has to pitch in with the songwriting, you’ve basically failed as a band. I’m looking at you, Metallica.

My biggest beef with Vices & Virtues is the best song on the entire album, “The Ballad of Mona Lisa”, is the very first track, which leaves you with nine other okay songs. It’s also a very short album, the standard edition clocking in at just 37:27 (it feels like 20 minutes, to be honest). If you want a few more songs, you have to buy the deluxe edition, which is completely stupid and reminds me of bullshit DLCs you now find infesting the video game industry. The album also suffers greatly from the loss of guitarist and lyricist Ryan Ross; the talkative, rapid-fire quips, and pop culture influenced lyrics we all loved from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out are now gone and replaced with lyrics any emo chump could conjure up.

Overall, it’s an extremely average album, which is too bad because this band started out their career any way but average. Obviously, this is not really Panic! At the Disco, but rather an attempt to get a nice big paycheck. There’s nothing wrong with getting paid, but Vices & Virtures hardly does this b(r)and’s legacy any justice.

Final Verdict: 2.5 / 5

Notable Tracks: “The Ballad of Mona Lisa”, “Memories”, and “Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met)”

On a side note: Have you heard Ryan Ross’ new band, The Young Veins? If you thought Pretty. Odd. was a fat Beatle ripoff…holy shit. No wonder Ross isn’t in Panic! anymore.


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8 Responses to The Vices & Virtues Of Panic! At The Disco

  1. Ryan says:

    Agreed! Following the only a singer/drummer path first ineffectively pioneered by The Smashing Pumpkins is a pretty lousy way to continue.

    Lets Kill Tonight is cool track though.

  2. Dan says:

    This is bullsh.t. Worst Panic review i’ve seen by far. Why don’t you grow a pair and stop ripping on them for being successful..

    • Natalie Spatharakis says:

      he isn’t ripping on them for being successfull. It’s just a review. One that I, a huge Panic! fan, agree with. It’s just a review on the paths their band take and, frankly, a lot of it makes perfect sense. It’s sad– they started off amazing, I’m in love with the original band but they shouldn’t have tried to continue it after they broke up.

  3. del says:

    I personally was nervous about what they were going to do about lyrics but I think Brendon and Spencer did a pretty great job with them. I highly enjoy this album and I dont think they were in this just for the money. They spent 2 years working on it just to make it into something they were really proud of and something that they thought the fans would enjoy. I wish Panic! luck in the future and hope they continue to put out very good albums such as this one. :)

    • Brad Whiteside says:

      I could have easily given it a 3 / 5 and wouldn’t lose sleep. It’s a decent album, in all honesty. It just doesn’t have that spark that their first album had.

      In regards to the money…I’m skeptical because they continued using the Panic at the Disco name when it’s just Brendon and Spencer. Like I said, take your favorite band and remove everyone but the singer and drummer; is it really the same band? It would have been easier to digest if they had started anew, but I guess it makes sense from a business perspective.

      Thanks for reading though! And thanks for offering an insightful opinion instead of the typical “your review sucks because I disagree with your opinion. you’re stupid” I get on this site, haha.

  4. Canadian Dude says:

    I think it’s interesting you mention that The Ballad of Mona Lisa is the best track on the album – I agree, both lyrically and musically, and it’s neat to me that Brendon wrote it after the first album, but before recording Pretty. Odd. I think maybe having the more diverse musical interest might contribute to its issues. It doesn’t necessarily feel stale to me, though – maybe just too many directions. I hope Brendon and Spencer find their footing and keep making music, because I’m gonna miss Fall Out Boy and was hoping they’d be a suitable replacement.

  5. emoney says:

    kill yourself

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