Panic! At the Disco
A Fever You Can't Sweat Out


5.0
classic

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
January 19th, 2007 | 80 replies | 17,505 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A genre-hopping musical adventure high on cabaret, Queen, old-time piano and drum machines.

9 of 12 thought this review was well written

Every now and then, a band or artist emerges and turns contemporary music on its head completely. What is defined and what is set in stone is expanded on, experimented on, stretched to the boundaries and back. The Beatles did it. Led Zeppelin did it. Nirvana did it. Radiohead did it. And now, whilst it’s early days yet, Las Vegas quartet Panic! At The Disco might just be one of those bands in years to come if this brilliant debut album is anything to go by.

Inspired by everything from classic cabaret and circuses to Kraftwerk and Kid A, the band commence proceedings with a bizarre introduction (sounding like a radio being tuned) and electro-pop album standout “The Only Difference Between Suicide And Martyrdom Is Press Coverage”. It is musically all over the shop- acoustic guitars, 80s styled synth lines, a bridge interlude that sounds like the backing music to a Jane Fonda workout, big crashing drums and one hell of a catchy chorus. It is a great indication of what is to come in the first half of the album. The album has two sides to it- the first side of the album mixes a lot of pop, a lot of electronica and a huge variety of other genres. The Autotuned vocals of “Nails For Breakfast, Tacks For Snacks” and industrial noise-drums bridge of “Camisado” really show how complex, layered and diverse the band can be. The last song on this side is "Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off", a darker, more rock-influenced track describing a scene of two young lovers “exchanging body heat in the passenger seat”. With a big sounding drumbeat and chilling lower-key vocals, it's another winning combination and it isn't hard to see why this track was picked as a single.

After a big techno interlude, some theatrical silent movie piano in ¾ time kicks in, followed by some odd buzzing and then, seamlessly, the second side commences.
You can hear the influence of areas and musical styles ranging from Motown, ELO, The Specials, Madness and practically everything else in-between in these tracks. How the tracks can meander from one style to another in such seemingly flawless manner is also notably impressive. A great example of this is “But It's Better If You Do!” stripping down to a simple sway, following that the addition of a plucking string quartet and a lead in to the most well known track on the album, “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies”- and from that track’s soaring strings and dreamy glockenspiel, we go into the percussively driven intro and flamingo guitar of “I Constantly Thank God For Esteban”. It’s no wonder that the band often use up to three extra members in their already multitasking live band.

After these already exceptional numbers, we’re directed to the album’s best track- the oddly titled “There’s A Good Reason That These Tables Are Numbered, Honey. You Just Haven’t Thought Of It Yet”. This is a hugely over-the-top number, especially the breathless chorus of “I’m the new cancer! Never looked better! And you can’t stand it!”. The song is layered to the brim with ragtime piano, a full-size horn section and a hugely camp finger-snapping moment over the line “Just keep telling yourself- ‘I’m a diva!’”. It is huge-sounding, raunchy, dramatic and, above all, an awful lot of fun.

Essentially, that’s what this record’s essential purpose is- to have fun and be enjoyed. What is so fantastic about this album, however, is the fact that the band can do this and, at the same time, explore many musical possibilities that their peers simply cannot do (and often come off as contrived when they try). Upon repeated listens, one gets the feeling a gap has been bridged between the no-genre-too-sacred originality of bands like Ween and the sharp-witted theatricality of groups like The Red Paintings and The Dresden Dolls.
What’s even more extraordinary is how young the band are- either in their late teens or early twenties at the time of recording, Panic! present throughout the record a maturity and professionalism beyond their years.

Front man and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Urie brings great character to the songs, coming off as a bizarre crossbreed of Freddie Mercury and Patrick Stump. Urie’s right hand man Ryan Ross is a key player in the bands sound as well, with his hardly forgettable synth and keyboard fills and strong guitar parts that give the songs a stronger backbone. Yes, the guitar lines are simple, no-one is denying it. However, the quality of the songs prove that there is simply no need for them to be anything more- complicated guitar lines do not always improve the quality of the music (see Dragonforce for the proof of this statement).

For what it’s worth (a lot), for what it is (a pop album with a big twist) and what it serves purpose for (exploring, experimenting with and defying pop norms), this record is perfect.
The band has a world of potential to expand on from here, and amidst so much bad press and panning from music critics and pretentious Pitchfork snobs alike, they have made one of the most outstanding and most accessible records of the past few years.
And they’re only just beginning what has the potential to be one huge legacy.
Stay tuned.



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user ratings (1650)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
lunchforthesky
January 19th 2007



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Oh come on they hardly transformed music, they just ripped off Fall Out Boy and Blink whilst adding a synth, sorry but this is nowhere near a 5, try not to be be so biased in future. Not an awful review but try to be more objective. The lyrics are cliche'd and overdone, not even close to a classic in my in my opnion. Instrumentally the guitars are so bland and uninventive, little more than power chords.

Cesar
January 19th 2007



2732 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree with most of what the last comment said, but if i'm in the mood they are fun to listen too. I'm a guitar person so the weak guitars is a real turnoff for me. I see great potencial for u as a reviewer, keep writing.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2007



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Your writing is good, but I think you overrate the albums you review. Not because I don't agree with your ratings, but because the reviews suggest a lower rating.

Otisbum
January 19th 2007



1912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

EDIT (@1st 2 comments): If you just focus on each instrument separately, yeah, they are garbage. But I guess there's not pleasing most people.

Decent review. Great album.This Message Edited On 01.19.07

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2007



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This synth was created to produce this album and this album alone.

AtavanHalen
January 19th 2007



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for your constructive criticism, guys. At least I haven't gotten "panic are g@y" or whatever.

RE: lunchforthesky-

I don't understand. A review is supposed to be biased. Either you like the band or you don't!

RE: Cesar21-

Yeah, Ryan's guitar isn't that good on some tracks, but there's some memorable riffs in there that I like.
Thanks for the comment.

RE: Mynameischan-

What do you think my review suggests? Either way, thank you for reading.

RE: Otisbum-
Thanks! I'm glad I have someone who agrees with me.

RE: Iluvatar-
Interesting concept. Don't necessarily agree with it though.

Thanks again!


The Jungler
January 19th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Alright review, though you did overrate it quite a bit. This album is pretty good (/hella pissed that it isn't on Rhapsody anymore) but nowhere near a five.
Also, some of those recommendations are pretty strange. Kid A? Maybe it influenced the album a bit, but it certainly doesn't sound much like it.

iarescientists
January 19th 2007



5863 Comments


[quote=atavanhalen]I don't understand. A review is supposed to be biased. Either you like the band or you don't![/quote]
You see, the thing is that you want to get your opinion across, but you don't want to be too biased or else no one will take your opinion seriously. So if you happen to make an outlandish claim of utter "fanboyism" you have to make sure you back it up properly so that you don't come off as an utter fanboy. It's a bit of a tough concept to understand, but if you keep writing and read other reviews by some of the staff reviewers you should come to understand it.


AtavanHalen
January 19th 2007



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks, man. I'm sure it'll make sense over time.

StrizzMatik
January 19th 2007



3183 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album is not a 5. Not even close... at absolute best I'd say a 3 or maybe a 2.5. And that's like with two songs. They definitely sold their souls for that catchiness, but lyrically they're incredibly overrated and musically they're blander than bland. And yes, they're way too much like Fall Out Boy, especially with the vocals and chord progressions. They also need to stop dressing like a bunch of f*cking fairies and having the same foppish girl-boy haircuts. They're the type of kids that need to get beaten up more often, IMO...

Decent review, but lay off the fanboyism a bit.

iarescientists
January 19th 2007



5863 Comments


Your avatar looks like a skinny Kevin James

JumpTheF**kUp
January 19th 2007



2710 Comments


I don't get what's so wrong with this review. I pos'd it because it was well written and gave me an idea of what the album was like.
Except that I really hate this album aside from The only difference between martyrdom and suicide is press coverage. I mean seriously, it's sounds exactly like Fall Out Boy. Plus I really don't like some of the songs.

Zmev
January 19th 2007



983 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh get real.

JumpTheF**kUp
January 19th 2007



2710 Comments


I think you'll find that I'm completely serious.

Twin Human Highway Flares
January 19th 2007



36 Comments


I can't dislike this album because I had it on repeat the entire time I was reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I'd probably hate it otherwise though.

lunchforthesky
January 20th 2007



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Its not by any means a bad review, i mean its not Med or anything but its got a lot of potential.

The first paragraph just blows the whole album up to be something its really not regardless of your opinion of the album. My favourite album is Full Collapse by Thursday but im aware that while its a 5 everytime for me, it was only influencial within its scene and passes most non fans by entirely. Nirvana, Radiohead and Led Zeppelin changed music did or will Panic!, not on your life. If any change does occur Fall Out Boy were the pioneers not this band.

To be a 5/5 almost every song should be perfect and not only is this not the case with this album but not even your review suggests this is the case.

All the same i positive voted for you because its quite well written.

asheroth
January 20th 2007



130 Comments


Neg votes on this are pretty unfounded. It's a well-written review, and get this; the question at the bottom of the review asks you if you thought the review was 'well-written'! It doesn't ask you what you think about Panic! At the Disco or whether you personally would also give this a 5. Too many people around here say 'be more objective' when they mean 'conform to what I think'.

I hate this band, but it's a good review, and you back up your opinion well, so pos votes for you.

P.S Told you you'd get flames for this :P

lunchforthesky
January 20th 2007



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I disagree he didnt justify it being a classic, not adequetly but i did pos vote for him and in a sense it would be extremely difficult for anyone to convince this was a 5 so you have a point.

AtavanHalen
January 21st 2007



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Hey everyone, thanks for the comments.

Just so you know, I wasn't trying to be a "fanboy" or whatever. I just honestly don't have anything negative to say about this album.

Eliminator
January 21st 2007



2067 Comments


Hyperbole.



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