Panic! At the Disco
Vices & Virtues


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
March 20th, 2011 | 129 replies | 34,753 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Panic puts the exclamation point on their triumphant return from 2008's disappointing album "Pretty. Odd."

Panic! At the Disco has had a pretty tumultuous three years. They dropped the ! from their name, scaled down a lot of their touring to a more intimate setting, and overhauled their sound by embracing a classic rock oriented approach that many critics accused of being far too similar to that of The Beatles. Following Pretty. Odd.’s lukewarm reception, bassist Jon Walker and guitarist/primary lyricist Ryan Ross left the band citing creative differences, scraping Panic down to its very core while leaving front man Brendan Urie and drummer Spencer Smith to carry on as a duo under the band’s name. Trials of this nature would be enough to challenge any band, but in the face of heavy criticism and mounting pressure to return to the musical style of their debut, Panic! at the Disco prove to us that they have weathered the storm – without caving in to expectations. Vices & Virtues is an effort completely distinct from both of their previous releases, and while it may not be their best album to date, it establishes them as a durable band that is able to survive even when the going gets rough.

One thing that listeners will notice almost immediately is the abundance of strings, bells, and samplings that have returned to Panic’s sound. They don’t go quite as far as to reintroduce the whole disco/dance thing they had going on in AFYCSO, but that might be for the best in terms of establishing Vices & Virtues as its own beast. ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘Nearly Witches’ are prime examples of this, with the former featuring an eerie piano opening and the latter possessing a children’s choir and circus-themed synthesizer. If there is one thing we have learned about Panic! At the Disco, it is that they are the most fun and enjoyable when they let their eccentricities show. Luckily, it seems that Urie and Smith were equally aware of this, because the album is absolutely filled to the brim with quirky moments – and Vices & Virtues only stands to benefit from it. ‘Hurricane’ is another standout track, with an incredibly infectious intro consisting of a distant synthesizer and a pounding exchange between drumming and handclaps. The promise of the opening minute is fulfilled by what is easily the record’s catchiest chorus, thus solidifying the song as one of the album’s best. In fact, just going down the track list reveals very little filler, as ‘Memories’ becomes more and more memorable the longer it plays on, ‘Trade Mistakes’ swells with violins and Urie’s most urgent sounding vocals, ‘Always’ fits the bill as an enjoyable ballad sans the cheese, and so on until the album’s very end. The only exception is ‘Ready to Go’, which while it isn’t terrible, it also doesn’t contribute much of anything unique from a musical or lyrical perspective (making it one of Panic’s more forgettable songs). Otherwise, Urie and Smith keep on chugging for ten straight noteworthy tracks, something that Panic! at the Disco was unable to do on Pretty. Odd.

Perhaps the most impressive feat Panic! At the Disco accomplishes is the diversity between those ten tracks. Every song is distinguishable from the other nine, offering up a totally weird synth section, strings, or an earth-shattering chorus to make it recognizable and totally able to stand on its own. From the very beginning, the termination and commencement of songs is recognizable (they don’t always “flow together”), but they carry on in such a fashion that each ensuing track feels like a natural progression from the one that just ended. Naturally, Vices & Virtues is all the more listenable – giving it an outstanding flow and an overall cohesiveness that makes it both an easy and pleasurable listen every time. The departure of Ryan Ross was cause for concern in the lyrics department, but despite the turnover from Ross to Urie, Panic maintains the high standards that fans as well as the band members themselves have come to expect. The clever sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek statements from their debut appear to be a thing of the past, which while disappointing, is salvaged by Urie’s ability to effectively bridge the gap with lines like, “I believe that half the time I am a wolf among the sheep, gnawing at the wool over my eyes” and “I'm a fly that's trapped in a web / But I'm thinking that my spider’s dead / Lonely, lonely little life / I could kid myself in thinking that I'm fine.” The lyrics seem to have found a happy medium between the gloomy pessimism of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and the peppy optimism of Pretty. Odd.; and like the rest of Vices & Virtues, it stands as a characteristic totally unique to this record.

Panic! At the Disco’s third LP puts a strong foot forward in the right direction. It may not have everything, but it possesses the complex musical arrangements of Pretty. Odd. and the strange quirks of AFYCSO, along with a slew of qualities that are one-hundred percent fresh. The band’s annoying infatuation with The Beatles is over, which should be cause for a collective sigh of relief among fans everywhere. It doesn’t quite reach Fever’s level of catchiness and intrigue, but it comes damn close in just ten songs that are virtually filler-free. In relation to the material that Panic has released so far, Vices & Virtues is the best of both worlds, and it will be sure to please fans everywhere regardless of taste or preference.



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user ratings (478)
Chart.
3.4
great
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...

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

Jacob Hampton (4.5)
Show them all you're not the ordinary type....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this is actually good...wierd, right?

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2011



10258 Comments


if i really liked pretty.odd do i get this

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah. i would.

bloc
March 20th 2011



34679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

YES SOWING

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

theacademy
March 20th 2011



28249 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

album is aces

theacademy
March 20th 2011



28249 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

and i was all prepared to hate this band forever

Slum
March 20th 2011



2579 Comments


Nothing really struck me with this album at all

Superbus
March 20th 2011



187 Comments


better than pretty odd, not saying much

SloppyMilkshake
March 20th 2011



981 Comments


People are giving this thing 5's?

thefuckisgoingonhere

Ire
March 20th 2011



41749 Comments


Maybe people really like it, quiffe.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you see - Panic is a love 'em or hate 'em band.

I'm one of the few people that falls in between I think.

Knott-
Emeritus
March 20th 2011



10194 Comments


you see - Panic is a love 'em or hate 'em band.

I'm one of the few people that falls in between I think.


lol what a hella stupid thing to say -_-

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how so? i always saw panic as one of those bands that people jump for joy over or that they despise.

SloppyMilkshake
March 20th 2011



981 Comments


Must be the stare, I don't know.

Between the insane praise this is getting and people claiming the new Strokes LP is really weird (again, I ask, the fuck?), I'm beginning to think Sputnik has gone "soft".

bloc
March 20th 2011



34679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's the suit

Knott-
Emeritus
March 20th 2011



10194 Comments


Lol Sowing, because you're like,

band is super divisive, you either love them or you hate them!

...

unless you don't love them
or hate them

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah that is pretty stupid.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2011



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think this is better than Fever. really coherent and mature album.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2011



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"People are giving this thing 5's?

thefuckisgoingonhere"

if by "people" you mean "theacademy" then yes, but that's a bit of a stretch. have you seen his ratings?

SloppyMilkshake
March 20th 2011



981 Comments


Oh, haha, I accidentally hovered over the 4.5 ratings.

And yeah, academy, you must be trollin' dawg.



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