Released: Oct 8, 2013
Genre: Power Pop, Alternative Dance, Synthpop
Label: Decaydance, Fueled By Ramen
Number Of Tracks: 10
A new direction by the band once again, but what do you expect when the album was written primarily as a response to prolonged clubbing in the clubs of Las Vegas?
Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!Featured review by: UG Team, on october 09, 2013 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Panic! At The Disco formed in 2004, and found immediate success with their first album, "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out," mainly on the power of their single, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." Their second album, which had a stylistic change going from pop punk more into the realm of pop music with rock elements, saw less success. Their third album, "Vices & Virtues," was marked by Jon Walker and Ryan Ross leaving the band, and another stylistic change - this time to more of a rock context with heavy pop influences. "TOo Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" displays yet another stylistic change, this time showing the band delve into the realm of dance pop. The album contains 10 tracks that clock in at just a little over 32 minutes. The first two singles from the album were "Miss Jackson" and "This Is Gospel," which were released respectively in mid-July and mid-August.
The album opens up with the track "This Is Gospel," which slowly builds by adding in instrumentation until the chorus comes in and the song changes gears to a high energy track. "Miss Jackson" is next, and probably has the most "rock" vibe of any track on the album, but an unmistakable dance beat running throughout. "Vegas Lights" starts with an audio sample (I think from old school Sesame Street) and builds to an EDM track with a female chorus singing the hook, and with Brendon Urie doing the verses. "Girl That You Love" sounds a lot like an EDM track that might have come out back in the day of new wave music. "Nicotene" starts with a creepy little melody on keyboard and builds for quite a while in the track, making you expect the bass to drop, but instead it goes back to that creepy little melody from the beginning. "Girls/Girls/Boys" is the next track, and this track makes me think about '80s new wave music as well. Next up is "Casual Affair" which has a very interesting intro, but once the lyrics come in you realize that intro is just going to keep going (with the exception of the chorus) and discover this is once again an EDM-styled track. "Far Too Young to Die" starts out with a slow melody on keyboard, but is soon punctuated by some midi percussion playing 4/4 at about 120 BPM accompanied by heavily processed vocals. "Collar Full" starts out with an almost indie rock sound but the chorus pushes the track far into the realm of pop. "The End of All Things" starts out with a piano part that does a great job of symbolizing all the things the title of the song suggests. The vocals come in very heavily processed, but they mostly work with the piano part. A string arrangement makes its way into the track, but it sits back a little in the mix. The track makes a good bookend for the album. // 6
Lyrics: Brendon Urie has already proved his chops as a vocalist, most successfully in the pop punk genre. While he still seems to have every bit of ability he had back then, he is now supplemented by very heavy processing - reverbs, auto-tune, chorus effects, etc. I can't really complain, as this is pretty much standard practice for dance music – which this album seems to be. The lyrics at times seem to be fairly personal, but at other times seem to just be standard dance music lyrics. As a sample, here are some lyrics from their single, "This Is Gospel": "This is gospel for the fallen ones/ locked away in permanent slumber/ assembling their philosophies/ from pieces of broken memories/ Oh, this is the beat of my heart, this is the beat of my heart/ The gnashing teeth and criminal tongues conspire against the odds/ But they haven't seen the best of us yet." The lyrics definitely have a more narrative nature than you would expect with the music, and are by far the most interesting part of the album. // 7
Overall Impression: I definitely enjoyed the previous album, "Vices & Virtues," more than this current release. This release is, however, very pop oriented and very accessible to the general listener. I think that there will probably be a lot of people who really enjoy this album and a lot of that is going to depend on how you define good pop music. For me, personally, good pop music is like The Beatles, or maybe Brendan Benson. I feel like this album shows another step into the direction of disposable pop. It isn't a bad album, but at the end of the day it doesn't feel like there is a lot of substance to it. // 6
Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!
That_Review_Guy, on october 31, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: For those who are not familiar with the band, Panic! At The Disco is a band that's known for its stylistic changes as each new album is released, from the classic angst ridden "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out," to The Beatles inspired "Pretty. Odd.", and even surviving a line up change and releasing the polished "Vices and Virtues." Every album seems to be a sort of jab at their early critics who lumped them in with the Emo crowd their image placed them in. Once again we're met with change with the newly released "Too Weird to live, Too Rare to Die!"
Most of our first look at the album was through its first single, the Hip hop/R&B influenced "Miss Jackson." After listening to the album, this seems to be the only really "beat driven" track on "TWTL, TRTD." Most of the other tracks are synth lead, with the exception of the opening track "This Is Gospel," which has a more classic Panic! sound with crunchy guitars and a soaring chorus. Tracks like "Girl/Girl/Boys" sound like something that could have easily have come off of a Depeche Mode album, and "Vegas Lights" is a simmering tribute to the bands home town of Las Vegas, Nevada. The album closes with the aptly named "The End of All Things," a soft piano and string based ballad that closes the album with a gentle whisper.
As far as an overall sound, in comparison to past Panic! releases, there is noticeably less guitar than in the past. So if that's something your hoping for, you may be disappointed. However, I don't feel like the album suffers from this, as the balance between the two blends very well into the albums overall sound. And when the guitars do come in, such as in "Gospel" and "Nicotine," it does so in spectacular fashion. Also a highlight here are the basslines provided by new bassist Dallon Weekes, who provides some smooth ass riffs that gel perfectly with the vibe of each of the tracks. Every track here feels like a reflection of the Vegas glitz and party atmosphere, as well as the darkness the city has and the gloom that sets in when the party is over and the neon lights fade away.
The only irk I have is with the use of filtering with some of the vocals on this album. Vocalist Brendon Urie has steadily been improving vocally since the bands beginning, and I feel like some of the choices in vocal processing on some tracks were unnecessary, particularly in the album closer "The End of All Things." Where the effect used in "Gospel" makes that track sound bigger and grandiose, in "End" it makes Urie's voice sound near unintelligible and I feel like it takes away from the emotion that could have been there otherwise. // 8
Lyrics: After original guitarist and main lyricist Ryan Ross left the band following the tour for "Pretty. Odd.", it fell on the shoulders of Brendon Urie to write the lyrics for the bands following release "Vices and Virtues." Personally, while I found lyrics for some songs such as lead single "The Ballad of Mona Lisa" and "Lets Kill Tonight" interesting, songs like "Hurricane" and "Ready to Go" didn't appeal to me. And given that arguably the lyrically strongest track on the album "Nearly Witches" was co-written by Ross prior to his leaving, I feared for the bands future lyrically, which is an aspect I loved so much about the bands earlier work.
On this new album I feel like Urie is finally settling into being the main lyricist of the band. The lyrics here are fun, whimsical, and even dark at times. Particularly the lyrics of "This Is Gospel" really strike me. "These words are knives that often leave scars/the feeling of falling apart/ truth be told I never was yours/The fear of falling apart." It makes me think of growing up thinking you've known someone, only to find that both you and them have grown apart, and even if you love them, its better to let go than to keep trying. Considering the songs origins in Brendon's family Mormonism and subsequent falling out with them, I'm probably not to far off. But of course, thats all open to interpretation. // 7
Overall Impression: Overall I think the album is a very solid cohesive thing, and very much a natural progression for the band. Panic!, as usual, is evolving as a band. Every release has been its own separate entity, unified by witty songwriting and excellent musicianship. As a new chapter in Panic!'s lifetime reaches its second chapter and as the blinged out haze of "Too Weird..." fades and bounces in my head, I find myself eagerly waiting to see what the Vegas trio does next.
This is just my opinion of course, I wanna hear what you think! Lemme know in the comments below what you thought of "Too Rare..." Was it everything you hoped it would be, or did you feel letdown? Why? And what should I review next. Looking forward to your chatter! // 8