Sound — 7
Panic At The Disco -- you either love them or hate them. Two years ago, the band released A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. The album swept the nation topping the charts. The band basically became even with most pop acts for radio and video play. The band re-entered the studio in 2007 to begin writing a new album. This album has a different overall tone than A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. The band's direction in music seems to have taken a turn towards the better. The album itself reminds one of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and David Bowie, to name a couple of influences you can see. The album opens with We're So Starving where the band claims that they're the same band, and you don't have to worry. The song itself gives a good introduction to the album and what the listener is going to be hearing. The song works into the first single, Nine In The Afternoon, which is a pop-rock song with clever fast moving vocals with a piano and a guitar to accompany them. The song also features horns during the chorus. The song itself is a perfect single and a great official opener to the album (not including the intro track, We're So Starving). After an outro of various string instruments, a blues-like guitar sound kicks in as She's A Handsome Woman begins. The song has vocals that vocalist Brandon Urie can boast about. You can tell that he has she'd his whiny vocals as seen in A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. Do You Know What I'm Seeing is a track that features string instruments, harmonica, piano, and drum set. The track itself is a very solid track featuring the entire vocal range of Urie. The next track, That Green Gentleman is a bright song that seems to cheer up anyone's day. I can imagine the band playing this song on a parade float and having the music itself (represented by color and the people are all black and white) cheer people up. I Have Friends In Holy Spaces features a ukulele, clarinet, and trumpet accompanying the vocals of Urie. The song itself sounds like it would be playing from a record player from the sound quality. The next song Northern Downpour is a ballad featuring the harmonious combination of the vocals of Urie and guitarist/lyricist Ryan Ross. The track is a dramatic difference compared to all the other songs so far. It is definitely a song that most people could relate to and like pretty easily. It also reminds you of Beatles' songs such as Strawberry Fields Forever. The song fades into When The Day Met The Night, which starts out with a psychedelic guitar riff. The song slowly builds up to the chorus which seems to be the lightest part out of this darker track. The song flows on to Pas De Cheval, a moving piece that sounds sort of like western-rock. You can envision the band riding horses in an old western movie. It isn't the greatest song on the album, but it's a nice transition piece. The Piano Knows Something I Don't Know sounds like a Beatles song in the earlier parts of the track featuring a variety of string instruments. The strings suddenly build into an upbeat sound that could fit into a suite with Nine In The Afternoon. The song continues on eventually to transition to Behind The Sea. This song is definitely one of the stronger songs, featuring vocals from Ross instead of vocalist Urie. Urie does accompany doing almost silent harmony vocals in the background. Ross definitely does a good job on this song as vocalist. It is also one of the few songs that don't have horns and strings joining the band for the whole song. Folkin' Around is just as the title perceives it to be -- a folk song. It is a worthy attempt at folk, but it sounds too similar to the Beatles' I've Just Seen A Face. That set aside, it is a pretty good song, just not so creative. She Had The World is a pretty good duet between Urie and Ross. It just sounds too similar to the album's influences to take seriously. From A Mountain In The Middle Of The Cabins is an uppity sounding song with horns throughout the whole song. The song doesn't really help do the album justice, but it does lead into the closer Mad As Rabbits. The closing track starts with horns and then brings in the the band itself along with Urie. The song also features Ross, who again is a great addition to the track. The song itself is single worthy at all levels. It is probably one of the few songs on the album that reminds me of A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. It is a great closer to the album though. The album itself sounds great. You just have to put aside the fact that almost every song lacks music creativity.
Lyrics — 9
Ryan Ross is a great lyricist. His lyrics are both simple and clever. Some of these lyrics can be seen in Do You Know What I am Seeing?: Clouds are marching along, singing a song, just like they do./If the clouds were singing a song, I'd sing along, wouldn't you too? /If you just knew what they could do./Oh, if you just knew, what would they do? Another example of these lyrics can be seen in Behind The Sea: The men all played along/To marching drums/And boy did they have fun/Behind the sea/They sang (hey! )/So our matching legs/Are marching clocks/And we're all too small/To talk to God/Yes, we're all too smart/To talk to God.
Overall Impression — 8
While this album could be labeled as a great album, it just seems like a Beatles cover album with no Beatles songs. The band just seemed to sit around listen to Beatles' records as they wrote this. There is nothing wrong with listening to the Beatles, but it just seems like the band is running out of creativity on their current four year trek in the music industry. I do believe that this record will push the band forward and gain more fans. At this cost though, they might lose fans of their synth heavy dance-pop-rock fans. This album can be appreciated by most people, once you set aside that they took a lot of Beatles' ideas and changed them to their own context. Isn't the music industry basically that though? Taking your inspirations and messing around with their sound? While this album does lack some creativity, the band did do a great job at making a record that is a completely different step away from A Fever You Can't Sweat Out.