Monday, February 15th, 2016

Panic! at the Disco – Emperor’s New Clothes

Ambivalence! at the Jukebox…


Micha Cavaseno: Boy, this sure is a lot of spectacle from a kid who hasn’t learned how to sing in about a decade and hasn’t been good since he ditched the buddy with the Chuck Palahniuk obsession. It’s amazing how long people will endure him doing his fake soul shtick, but then again Andy Grammer has actual hits doing a hillbilly variation of this (thus blending #Americana with fake gospel and thereby giving you a double dose). All this has is all the annoying, with none of the ingenuity or insidiousness. It’s almost sloth-like in its entitlement, how Urie expects us to be impressed by all this show. But hey, some of us actually thought Soul Punk was good, so I know it’ll score points with SOMEONE.

Iain Mew: Panic! at the Disco went to some bad places over their last few albums, but mostly a lot of dull places. So it’s great to once again hear them sounding thrilling, vital, and ridiculous. They’re back to operatic rock, now incorporating circus turns, nursery taunting, synth sparkles, and vocal samples that sound like “Fester Skank”, but it’s the urgency with which they cut through it all that’s the biggest difference. They maybe bite off more than they can chew, but they’ve got some bite.

Cassy Gress: So this is what I get for not having listened to any P!ATD songs since the one about the goddamn door. When the hell did Brendon Urie develop a metal shriek? Some of those “ohhhWHOOAOOAA YEAHHHHH”s are astounding. And I know vocal tracks are cut up and edited all to hell but I’m still sitting here going “how did he drop back down to that E so quickly?!” Also, haha, there’s a little rolled r on “flip the switch and watch them rrrrrun,” and he did it inconspicuously enough not to be twee. Man. This is a song to be performed live with like, sparks and flames shooting up and one of those double-neck guitars and tongue hanging out going “blarggghhgle.”

Patrick St. Michel: The most theatrical song trying to soundtrack the ESPYS I’ve ever heard.

Mo Kim: Oversaturated horns, Greek chorus influences, vocals so melodramatic I can only make out every other word. In conclusion:

Jonathan Bradley: Panic! at the Disco’s manic theatricality is at its best when its at its most hooky — it is then it most passably substitutes for Pete Wentz’s far more absorbing narcissism. Yet it’s not quite apparent what ends the drama serves: the austere gleaming stomp, ever-present throughout “Emperor’s New Clothes,” wields more power than the showy operatic chants of the middle eight. I’ve hovered round the edges of enough theatre kid scenes to understand that performance can be its own purpose, but Brendon Urie has seemed at his most engaging when he’s not merely resting on that particular laurel. The stuttering arrogance of the riff is a highlight: it is not unusual for the most disresputable modern rock to also be the most sonically pluralistic. 

Megan Harrington: A half step behind Fall Out Boy no matter how fast they run. 

Jonathan Bogart: I’ve definitely heard Panic! at the Disco before, but I had given up on current rock music by the time they were a thing, so I never really assimilated them. Does this sound like Panic! at the Disco? Hell if I know; I think it sounds like Fall Out Boy, but I don’t know if that’s because Panic! at the Disco generally sounds like Fall Out Boy or if it’s just this. (I’d given up on current rock music before Fall Out Boy too, so I only have a vague idea of what Fall Out Boy even sounds like. Maybe I’m thinking of My Chemical Romance.) I’ve never quite been able to sort out the appeal of that whole generation of bands, and every time I try I just end up wanting to listen to Rage Against the Machine, not because they have anything in common besides being energetic, shouty, and sloganeering, but because even if I never particularly liked Rage Against the Machine I understood them on a bone-deep level; their admixture of verbosity and lunkheadedness spoke to my own. I guess this is growing up.

Alfred Soto: When Brendon Urie evokes the sins and tragedies of a star’s life by yelping, I hide under the sofa. The chorales, march beat, and rhythm twists keep it hopping though.

Brad Shoup: I can’t unread Urie saying the “finders keepers” bit sounds like “Cantina Song”. Here I just thought it was yet another hot-jazz graverobbing. It obliterates a gutty chorus that was already diminished by the mix job. You can lose the band, but the instinct to worry a metaphor into dust is a little harder to shake.

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One Response to “Panic! at the Disco – Emperor’s New Clothes”

  1. Relieved beyond belief that this isn’t a Sinead cover.