The Vices & Virtues Of Panic! At The Disco
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 8 Comments
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.