Review Summary: Panic! At the Disco's latest work may not be groundbreaking, but is a fun album nonetheless.
It's interesting to consider that Panic! At the Disco's fifth album, 'Death Of a Bachelor,' was released at a time in which Brendon Urie was the only remaining original member. Having only the lead singer could sound like a recipe for disaster to some people, but for others, it could have been seen as an opportunity to start new: an opportunity for vocalist Brendon Urie to redefine his sound. While there may not be anything groundbreaking about 'Death Of a Bachelor,' it's certainly not a bad album. While it may not be a step forward, it's by no means a step back.
Much like their previous work, 'Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die,' this album is filled to the brim with catchy songs that will be stuck in your head for days on end. If there's anything that Urie has proven talented at producing, it's these sort of songs. Sure, not many songs off the album have very intelligent-sounding songwriting or emotional power behind them. But this album begs the question: is that really a bad thing? Never did I find myself disappointed with the lyrics I was hearing, because even when the songwriting was at its worst, the catchy riffs and choruses almost always made up for it.
One of the album's biggest issues, however, is the fact that it is incredibly front-loaded. Nearly all the album's best songs (Hallelujah, Emperor's New Clothes, and Death Of a Bachelor) can be found in the album's first half. Setting the bar so high with the first five or six songs proved to be a poor choice, as it set the rest of the album up for failure when the second half wasn't as catchy or memorable.
On the contrary, one of the album's best qualities (other than catchiness) is Urie's vocals. Once again, he proves that he is an exceptional singer, especially with tracks like 'Death Of a Bachelor' and 'Golden Days,' both of which are some of the album's best songs. Most surprisingly of all were the occasional leaps into unexplored territory for Panic! At the Disco. Twice throughout the album, Urie tackles a sort of jazzier sound, and actually succeeds quite well. For someone who did their utter best to ignore the singles until the full album was released, I was surprised and impressed at the same time.
Overall, 'Death Of a Bachelor' was a fun album to listen to. While some of the songs in the second half of the album are forgettable, nearly every song off the record has the potential to ingrain its melodies and riffs deep into your subconscious and never leave. Urie proves that he can carry the pressure of a new album release on his shoulders, which is bound to come as a relief for some Panic! At the Disco fans. Judging from this record, Brendon Urie/Panic! At the Disco will continue making solid, catchy music for a long time.