The DNA of Panic! At The Disco’s Discography

 Ally Schell

Hallelujah! Panic! At the Disco is back! So all you sinners and saints get ready for a new tour and a new album featuring Brendon Urie and his crew.  It all began in high school when Panic! At the Disco started their first album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, and became popular for their song “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” that led to the album being double platinum in the U.S in 2006.  Through the years band members have come and gone but the music that Panic! At the Disco produces continues to remain fresh in fans minds as they continue to create new music. So far, Panic! At the Disco have released five albums along with singles, EPs, live tracks, and remixes. Their newest album, Pray for the Wicked, has yet to be released as fans a wait for the vocals of Brendon Urie. As we continue, let us reminisce about the songs that have created Panic! At the Disco.

            Let us begin at the beginning. “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” is named after Douglas Coupland’s book called Shampoo Planet “What I write are not sins; I write tragedies” showing the people that have one big flaw that leads to their downfall. This is known as a fatal flaw that can be seen in almost every tragedy such as Romeo and Juliet. This song was done by lyricist and guitarist, Ryan Ross, whose girlfriend had recently broke up with him. The general theme is to show that things could have been worse in the break up.  The beginning features a cello that is rumored to be a young girl in their high school whom the band asked to play for the beginning because they couldn’t afford a professional. Then the lyrics begin, as Brendon sings how this beautiful wedding is nothing but fake. In the music video, it features Brendon and his crew of mystical friends interrupting a wedding ceremony. As the video continues, you see the bride and groom begin to fight as their wedding is not going as planned. Then, she walks out angrily and a guy from the pews follows her. The groom is in shock and is quite confused but Brendon walks him out to see that his bride is kissing that very guy. She mouths the word “Sorry” as she sees her groom. It then cuts to the groom bowing and changes into Brendon’s clothes. He walks about the mystical people and starts to jump and dance. The connection I can make of all of this is that the groom is now free from heartache and sadness and is in turn happy that he didn’t marry her. This could be similar to how Ryan Ross felt when his girlfriend broke up with him.


            Now we venture into the land of Pretty.Odd. Panic! At the Disco claims that this album was very different from any other album that they produced and they add many different elements in this album. It is much softer than its previous album and features horns and string instruments to set the mood. Even though it is less rebellious than A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, it is very complex and an almost vintage feeling seen in the song “I Have Friends in Holy Spaces”. We can look at the song “Nine in the Afternoon” that shows its Pretty.Odd side. It talks about love and its beginning stating that they pick up things they shouldn’t read and going “back to the street where we began”. They proceed in saying that everything that happened back in the street where it began was different than reality. “Cause’ its nine in the afternoon, your eyes are the size of the moon” can be interpreted as something non-existent or something in the past. This is because of the fact that there is no such thing as nine in the afternoon but the band feels that when it is/when it felt like it was nine in the afternoon everything, including her eyes, were beautiful. They also state “We’re feelings so good just the way that we do.” Showing that perfect is what they found in the place that is nine in the afternoon.

            Grab your top hats and goggles because we are moving to a steam punk world that is Vices and Virtues.  The band was having hiccups in their crew as many people of the band dismembered. Many wondered if that was the end of Panic! At the Disco. But fear not! They continued with this album and their two-piece showmen, Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith, dominating showing that they were not giving up.  One of my favorite songs from this album, arguably my favorite song out of the discography, is “Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)”.  This song correlates to the wanting to get up and leave and start a new chapter. The beginning of the song starts with a fast paced drum and guitar along with other instruments as Brendon says, “you’ve got these little things you’ve been running from” bringing it straight to the listeners ears. Continuing, Brendon shows the yearning of a young youth to get going by saying, “I think I’m ready to leave, I’m ready to live, I’m ready to go” as voices echo “Get me out of my mind”. This verse not only corresponds to the general theme of the song but also shows that many people, Brendon included, wants to leave the mind behind. “There’s a million ways it could go,” relates to the fact that anything can happen and to venture out and discover for yourself potential and what you want. This upbeat song shows the simpler side of Panic! and the dreams that maybe even they had/have to go ahead and do what they want to do and not be afraid to take risks.

            Talk about rebellion and intensity, Panic! At the Disco is the poster child. In their next album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die the centerpiece is moving towards a more rock vibe. After a four-year break, Panic! enters yet again to create a fist bumping, crowd surfing track. In this album, with solely Brendon Urie, he once again steers away from the steam punk sound and changes it to a dance club vibe.  In the middle of this album is a song called “Nicotine” in which Brendon Urie expresses this girl as addictive as nicotine. Having been a smoker himself, he can relate to the nature of both a cigarette and a girl being intoxicating. Both he believes can be fatal. He even states that she is “worse than nicotine”, believing that she never loved him back similar to the emotionless cigarette he used to drag. The end of the song goes as follows, he wants to give her up or in other words “quit” her like nicotine. However, he says that he “needs it so bad” like an itch or a wanting for one last touch before he lets her go. This next song is arguably my favorite on the entire Panic! At The Disco discography. The song is called “Collar Full” and this three minute and eighteen second song discusses the passionate side of Brendon for his love for a girl. I believe this song is based on his now wife Sarah and his love for her.  The beat continuously becomes catchier as you tap your foot along then; he opens by expressing that they both have waited so long for something to happen. But now, there is something more brewing. “I’ve got a collar full of chemistry from your company, so maybe tonight I’ll be the libertine.” Brendon is saying in this line his feelings for Sarah have more than just exceeded his expectations but that he has a real chemistry with her. The second verse refers to a loss of morals meaning that this could be something he has really been careful about but now, he is willing to be a little more risky and really hone in on the relationship. Whether it is a bitter relationship mentioned in “Nicotine” or a heartfelt lovely dovey song like “Collar Full”, this album shows that Brendon doesn’t shy away from his true feelings. If anything, it shows that anyone can repair from a bad relationship.

            *Queue Death Of A Bachelor here* As I guessed that Sarah was the person Brendon was writing about in “Collar Full”, the next album Death Of A Bachelor is about, well, just that! He finally has put a ring on it and made it official that he is no longer a man of many ladies. The last song in his final track of Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! Is actually his wedding vow to Sarah, which perfectly sets the tone for this album. This pop rock album is full of mystery and magic tricks. Every song is so individual from the rest but don’t be fooled, they all mesh perfectly together. If you haven’t listened to this album yet, I will say that the high soprano parts are well used as well as loved in this. “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” is very misleading at the beginning as they play a more bass influenced beginning of a surfing-esque song but as it starts to crescendo you start to see that this is far from a soft surfing Beach Boys inspired song. The whole song is Brendon waking up and not being aware of what happened the night before. This funny tale of Brendon Urie slowly remembering bits and pieces is part of the journey of an excellent night. “I lost a bet to a guy in chiffon skirt, but I make these high heels work.” Shows the humor as well as the tale of the crazy things he can get into. This correlates to the title “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time.” Because odds are, Brendon will gladly join and have the time of his life. Before I get too into this album it’s clear that even though he is no longer a bachelor, he is still having fun being himself.

            Panic! At The Disco has made a great impact in my life as well as so many others. To there teen years into adulthood, Panic! At The Disco continuously releases new music to keep its fans on their toes. If you haven’t listened to their recent album called Pray For The Wicked, I highly recommend adding it to your list of new albums to enjoy. It’s filled with fun and laughter as you sway to the beat. Brendon Urie has yet to get tired of the music he produces which shows the longevity of Panic! At The Disco will continue.