Panic! At the Disco
Vices & Virtues


4.5
superb

Review

by Jacob Hampton USER (13 Reviews)
March 17th, 2011 | 130 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Show them all you're not the ordinary type.

Panic! At the Disco have become one of the most inconsistent acts in the popular music industry. Though this is only their third release, their path from album to album has changed like Ramona Flowers's hair changes every week and a half. A hyper-active debut was followed by Pretty. Odd. The sophomore release took things much slower, but was certainly not scaled down production wise. While the latter, released in 2008, was adored by many dedicated fans, critics accused the band of trying too hard overall and ripping off The Beatles. After three years of hard work, a split leaving only two members, and a reinserted punctuation mark, Vices & Virtues finally comes forth. Well worth the wait, and again dramatically different from its predecessor, Vices & Virtues is a solid, interesting listen throughout.

The lyrics here are not quite up to par with debut A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. However, they are a major improvement over the nonsense that plagued Pretty. Odd. Former guitarist Ryan Ross fulfilled all lyrical duties before the split, making this vocalist Brendon Urie's first shot at accompanying all of his music with words. Rather than taking the metaphorical and storytelling approaches that Ross loved to tinker with, Urie offers a more personal take on Panic. Although the lyrics do not feel as encoded as in the past, the new relatability of the words is refreshing, and there is still a fair amount of symbolism mixed in for good measure. For example, leading track “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” offers what sounds like a tale of boy and girl, but for Urie it expresses his frustration with the battles that have taken place in the band and within himself. “Sarah Smiles” could have turned into an annoying, sappy love profession, but the way it's presented shakes things up enough that it isn't dismissed as a filler romance track.

Presentation is key for Vices & Virtues. The album feels more structured overall than previous releases, but all the quirky instruments and sound effects are back and stronger than ever before. All sorts of bells, whistles, and especially strings are well-placed throughout the album, adding a richer layer to each track. It could have led to a hopeless case of overproduction, but it works infectiously, most notably on album closer “Nearly Witches.” This theatrical fest begins with an a Capella children's choir, then twists through groovy verses before bursting into a slow, grand chorus with the choir and an army of instruments backing up Urie with a wall of sound as he belts his guts out. The effect is pure satisfaction for classic Panic fans.

One thing the band has always been great at is covering a great range of styles. Vices & Virtues is certainly no exception, from the 80's synth of “Let's Kill Tonight,” to the Pokemon-soundtrack-esque intro and bootie-shaking bass line in “Hurricane,” to the sad acoustics of “Always,” a short, but sweet track just begging to be played during a hit summer movie as someone drives home on a rainy night with tears running down their face. Panic holds the listeners attention from start to finish throughout Vices & Virtues. On a first listen, it's impossible not to wonder what direction the band will take on the next track.

Vices & Virtues is a very satisfying listen for a Panic fan. Those who have hated the band in the past will most likely continue to hate... but who cares? This stuff is catchy, quirky, and simply entertaining to listen to. Panic! At the Disco is back, and the return of the exclamation point is definitely made known through the music on the album. Tell me to calm down if you will, but for as long as these guys hold my interest, I refuse to stop panicking.



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user ratings (486)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
YourBore (4)
A return to stylistic form and lack of filler material propels Vices & Virtues over most recent pop-...

Joseph Scott (4)
Panic! sweat out their sophomore fever while remaining both odd and pretty...

SowingSeason STAFF (4)
Panic puts the exclamation point on their triumphant return from 2008's disappointing album "Pretty....

Eli EMERITUS (3)
Although "Vices & Virtues" ultimately falls flat from a lack of inspiration, there's enough fun-fact...


Comments:Add a Comment 
LepreCon
March 17th 2011


4092 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Decent review

thatoneguy726
March 17th 2011


1632 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I owe my deepest gratitude to Willie.

SloppyMilkshake
March 17th 2011


981 Comments


uggg...this band

Fugue
March 17th 2011


7353 Comments


I'm not sure if you can call them "one of the most inconsistent acts in the music industry" based on three albums tbh.

thatoneguy726
March 17th 2011


1632 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

POPULAR music industry. Most bands that make it on the radio stay the exact same so they don't mess with a winning formula.

Fugue
March 17th 2011


7353 Comments


Pardon my mistake.

WashboardSuds
March 17th 2011


5007 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

noticed you had some technical difficulties before posting the review :]

some critiques, with hopes to help you out:

A quick glance at the track list of Vices & Virtues reveals one of its only faults. Almost every track title is taken from the chorus of the song. Gone are the days of the creative, clever, and often funny titles of paragraph length.


this isn't really relevant to the music itself and I wouldn't consider this a fault to the album. if the album titles are the only things keeping you from 5-ing this, just 5 it. that said, pretty much the entire second paragraph feels really unnecessary

Panic! At the Disco have become one of the most inconsistent acts in the popular music industry. Their path from album to album has changed like Ramona Flowers's hair changes every week and a half.


this makes sense and all but it feels a little odd because the band only released 2 other albums before this

otherwise the rest of this review reads solid, and I Pos'd.

Digging: Gas - Nah und Fern

Strider
March 17th 2011


4598 Comments


I've heard a few songs of the first album and wasn't impressed. The first song on this on though sounds really good

cvlts
March 17th 2011


8955 Comments


good review brah

thatoneguy726
March 17th 2011


1632 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Say, ..........thanks! You too, Washboard.

WashboardSuds
March 17th 2011


5007 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

You too, Washboard.

no problem man

I might check this album out in due time, I was pretty curious what direction they would take this time, plus I always saw a sort of untapped potential from this band

Redman54
March 17th 2011


96 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, I am big panic fan and this just a real treat. A major achievement for a band with only two members.

bloc
March 17th 2011


34848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great album. Doesn't touch Fever, but it's the best I could hope for.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Gyromania
March 17th 2011


15707 Comments


I don't get it =[

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 17th 2011


23819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great review

I'm probably alone here, but I have no idea who Ramona Flowers is, so that reference doesn't work for me. solid other than that. I can't wait to listen to this album. Guilty pleasure band for me, except not even that guilty at all.

JWT155
March 17th 2011


9255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Weren't they dropping the whole exclamation point thing?

Digging: Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

WashboardSuds
March 17th 2011


5007 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

they decided to put it back in their name

Knott-
Emeritus
March 17th 2011


10195 Comments


why the fuck does anyone talk about album titles when theyre reviewing something

WashboardSuds
March 17th 2011


5007 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree but if I had to say anything about them they're substantially less retarded when shorter

Knott-
Emeritus
March 17th 2011


10195 Comments


i dunno

The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage

is a pretty fucking good song title



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