“Panic! At The Disco is: Brendon Urie.” It’s an imperative statement that might sound a bit abrupt while reading through the Death Of A Bachelor CD booklet. But it’s true. Urie is the only remaining member of the original lineup. At this point in time, Panic! At The Disco’s fifth studio album could have been a self-titled release. However, Urie holds on to the sounds that made Panic! so unique in the first place. There’s always been a certain expectation for P!ATD albums to be theatrical and larger than life. Urie pulls that off once again on Death Of A Bachelor—except this time he’s at it alone.
On P!ATD’s last album, Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!, Urie wrote a love letter to his hometown of Las Vegas. The bright lights and electric seduction depicted in the tracks paint a picture of life in Sin City. Death Of A Bachelor stretches in the opposite direction by showing a man who has left home for a new beginning in Los Angeles, recollecting late nights on Mulholland Drive with new friends and new experiences.
The opening track, “Victorious,” is a typical P!ATD song, filled with Urie’s vocal aerobics and a fast-paced rhythm. There isn’t a lot of surprise or risk with the track, but no doubt, it will go down as a classic in the band’s discography, especially with all of the attention it has received on the mainstream airwaves and TV.
The album really takes on a new life almost halfway through with the title track. Mixing Sinatra-esque swagger with a modern-day pop track, the song offers a throwback to the Golden Age while staying true to today’s audience. Urie has always had a way of incorporating new ideas that revolutionize each of Panic!’s albums, and that’s why the band has always been relevant. Even when their albums weren’t extremely popular in the mainstream, the band maintained a spot as a powerhouse act in the alternative music scene because of their ability to entertain no matter what phase they were going through with their music.
“Golden Days” presents a very intimate moment in the pre-chorus as it builds with only guitar and Urie’s voice and explodes into an echo of the title. It’s a very special moment on the album because of its simple production and ability to showcase Urie’s impressive and theatrical vocal range.
“The Good, The Bad And The Dirty” oozes 1920s style and character. It’s easy to picture Urie smirking while singing the lyrics and sauntering around stage. The album ends on “Impossible Year,” a piano-driven masterpiece that not only pays tribute to Panic!’s early releases but also to Urie’s idol, Frank Sinatra.
Death Of A Bachelor is a near-perfect album for Panic! At The Disco. After years of experimenting (see: Pretty. Odd.), Urie has finally found a sound that truly encapsulates every release to date. While there’s always room for improvement, it’s hard to determine what Panic’s next step will be after this album. If this were to be the end for the iconic scene heroes, it would be a good farewell, leaving fans with everything they could ever want from an album. It’s truly the peak of their career and their most cohesive release to date. Urie pays tribute to Sinatra in the best way he can—by producing modern-day pop songs that tip a hat to his musical influence and also by creating songs that would rival even Sinatra’s greatest hits. The intimacy and honesty of Death Of A Bachelor reveal that there’s more to Panic! than lights and mirrors. Urie’s talent is far beyond any male vocalist in the music scene. Even the weak songs on the album are just slightly duller among a sky of shining stars.