Review:: Death of a Bachelor | Panic! at the Disco

Now in the fifth installment of the Panic(!) at the Disco
story, we’ve seen the changes the band has made from album to album, tweaking
everything and anything – sound, image, theme, roster (though that last one
can’t change much further). This time around, after visiting everything from
cirque-pop to psychedelic marching band to dark cabaret and everything in
between,  Urie and Co. give us one
of 2016’s first noteworthy albums by delving into a brand new chapter –
matrimony.

With the first notes of the caffeinated chant-along
“Victorious,” Death of a Bachelor
starts quick and sharply. Followed by “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time,” the
pair risk canceling each other out. I enjoy champagne as much as the next guy,
but hearing it sung in back-to-back choruses is a bit sobering. On their own,
both are fun and catchy, though playing them in succession takes some of the
buzz away from each.

Luckily, single “Hallelujah” follows as a saving grace. Booming
and radio-ready, Panic! are the latest Fueled By Ramen alum to deliver using
this title. Urie’s vocals are crisp and focused, and the bandstand introduction
is one of a handful of Bachelor’s vintage
elements. “Crazy=Genius” brings along a horns section and dancehall drums to
swing to, while “Death of a Bachelor” enters sounding like an old file that had
trouble updating onto new media.

Unsettling of a statement as that may seem, it shouldn’t
eclipse that the title track is one of the album’s strongest songs, as well as
one of Urie’s strongest performances in Panic’s catalog. His voice is smooth
and suave throughout the verses, while soaring to massive heights in the
falsetto chorus. An optimistic, heartbroken ode to his departing lifestyle,
Urie serenades over the transition into the married life – “Happily ever after,
how could I ask for more? / A lifetime of laughter, at the expense of the death
of a bachelor.”

“LA Devotee” and “House of Memories” carry over some
leftover Too Weird to Live vibes,
adding in a brass section to help them adjust to this record. Bursting with
‘80s charisma and neon charm, they dig deep into your head and don’t give up. “The
Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” loosely follows this same formula – a mixture of
new tempo and classic elements – and the end result is good, though isn’t quite
as successful.

It’s tough to think that it’s been about two and a half
years since Too Weird to Live was
released (I had to double-check – late 2013). In that time, Panic! at the Disco
has gone through yet another metamorphosis. In the end, we were given the
footnotes of the process. With a new life on the horizon, Urie treats Death of a Bachelor as his final crazed
night out with his old friend bachelordom, their one last hurrah under the city
lights before heading home to the suburbs.

Release Date:
Run Time:
Rating: 3.5/5
Check Out: “LA Devotee,” “Death of a Bachelor,” “Hallelujah”

Track listing:
1. “Victorious”
2. “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time”
3. “Hallelujah”
4. “Emperor’s New Clothes”
5. “Death of a Bachelor”
6. “Crazy=Genius”
7. “LA Devotee”
8. “Golden Days”
9. “The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty”
10. “House of Memories”
11. “Impossible Year”

Written by Eric Riley