Panic! At The Disco - Pray For The Wicked
Review by Shannon Shumaker
Panic! At The Disco have done it again. Their latest effort, Pray For The Wicked takes the pop sensibilities and theatricality of their 2016 release, Death Of A Bachelor to the next level with big brass, horns and incredible percussion paired with frontman Brendon Urie’s larger than life vocals. Although Panic! At The Disco could easily ride on Urie’s impressive vocal work alone, they go above and beyond with each new release, and Pray For The Wicked is no exception, from the massive single, “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” and the complex “The Overpass” to the intimate closer, “Dying In LA.”
Just when you thought Panic! The The Disco couldn’t possibly follow-up the impressive Death Of A Bachelor, they arrive with something like Pray For The Wicked and change the game once more. Naturally, the release of this album will be accompanied by those who want to argue that this doesn’t sound like Panic! At The Disco, and in a sense, they’re completely right. Pray For The Wicked sounds nothing like A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out or Vices & Virtues or even Death Of A Bachelor, and it wouldn’t be Panic! At The Disco if it did. Instead Pray For The Wicked marks a new era for Panic! At The Disco, influenced by Broadway, big band and the roaring 20’s mixed with modern pop.
As a whole, Pray For The Wicked is incredibly cohesive, kicking off with two massive tracks, “(Fuck A) Silver Lining” and “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” followed by the brutally honest, “Hey Look Ma, I Made It.” The album’s third track touches on the ugly, fake and corrupt side of the music industry - it’s driven by dark lyrical content but sonically, it’s a massive pop track, and the irony surely won’t be lost on listeners. Although there are a couple songs that feel a bit like filler (“Dancing’s Not A Crime” is a bit safe compared to the tracks that surround it, for instance) there are more strong points than weak ones on this release. “One Of The Drunks” feels like a nice callback to Death Of A Bachelor’s “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time,” and stands out thanks to the spectacular bass work while “The Overpass” is sure to blow your mind with incredible percussion. Easily one of the strongest songs on the album is the final track, “Dying In LA,” which finds Urie switching gears, stripping things down and bearing his soul.
An album like Pray For The Wicked simply proves why a band like Panic! At The Disco, who first rose to success in the mid-2000’s emo scene with A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, has found longevity (and even more success) in mainstream music. Panic! have always been unafraid to adapt, morph and reinvent themselves without losing sight of the core influences that brought them success to begin with. Filled to the brim with fearless, theatrical bangers, Pray For The Wicked marks an exciting new chapter for Panic! At The Disco.
LISTEN TO: "Hey Look Ma, I Made It"
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