PANIC! AT THE DISCO'S VICES & VIRTUES - ALBUM REVIEW
Vices & Virtues is the highly anticipated third album from alternative punk rock duo Panic! at the Disco. Fans have eagerly waited nearly two years to listen to the new Panic sans Ryan Ross and Jon Walker. When news broke of Ross and Walker’s departure, fans were outraged and concerned about the future of the magnificent Panic! at the Disco. Fortunately, remaining members Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith have released a beautiful concoction of new and familiar tunes to satisfy all of the worrisome Panic! fans out there. Vices & Virtues is filled with familiar strings and beautiful vocals, with a twist of new beats and creative music.
The first song on Vices & Virtues is the album’s first single, “The Ballad Of Mona Lisa.” Much to many fans pleasure, this song is very mysterious and story-like, similar to Panic!’s first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. It begins with a slow beat that slightly resembles music from a different era, such as the Renaissance. This single is clearly targeted to the old fans by the intricate lyrics and simple guitar. The song is quite repetitive but is very interesting. It creates the illusion of a fairy tale and proudly shows off the vocals chops of lead singer Brendon Urie. The beat starts to pick as the bridge builds while the quirky vocals of Urie shine. This song edges listeners on with its slightly creepy feel and enticing lyrics. It is a very impressive single that is a great introduction to Panic!’s new work.
“Let’s Kill Tonight” follows “The Ballad Of Mona Lisa” on Vices & Virtues. It has a very funky pop feel to it, with a mix of strange beats with strings and random vocals. The vocals sound distant, as in a far echo, which creates the feel of a performance in a 1920’s speakeasy. The chorus consists of which sounds completely different than any other previous Panic! song before. The beat is carried on by claps and stomps, which encourage instant dancing. “Let’s Kill Tonight” is a satisfying track that complies bits and pieces of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and Pretty. Odd. Following “Let’s Kill Tonight” is the interesting “Hurricane.” The song opens with strange techno beats and cool bass. The vocals on this track are magnificent. It sounds very similar to the first track, “The Ballad Of Mona Lisa.” This song proves that Vices & Virtues has a theme of strings and claps. The chorus is slightly boring, but that really doesn’t matter. The lyrics are adorable and Urie’s voice is irresistible when he sings “oh kiss me” right before the chorus. It is a typical mainstream song that would fit perfectly on the radio.
The next track on Vices & Virtues is “Memories.” It is the first slow song featured on the album. The steady strings and guitar are beautiful in the beginning with a slight resemblance of the music of Angels & Airwaves. The lyrics are very simple and the vocals do not impress. The only lyrics that impressed me were “beautifully depressing, like a street car named desire.” The song picks up and even features a brief guitar solo, which is new for Panic! at the Disco. This track has a very mainstream sound, which is both positive and negative. Urie’s unique falsetto makes this boring song attractive. Following “Memories” is “Trade Mistakes.” There is a heavy string intro, which carries the string theme of the album. It is dream-like and contains slow beats that could classify it as a lullaby. The vocals are strong, trusting, and crisp. The clear vibrato is devastatingly gorgeous. It is a meaningful, soulful love song that is very different compared to any past Panic! songs. It brings the listener into a sleepy fantasy world.
The next track is “Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind).” The staccato strings, along with steady oohs and vibrant guitar, introduce the song excellently. Fans of Panic! would definitely relate this song to a song from Pretty. Odd. It is upbeat and futuristic. I got the feeling that this song could bring endless future possibilities, but also a sense of childhood. Its innocent percussion and strings provide an uplifting mood. It brought a smile to my face. The gentle “Always” shortly follows. It has lovely, honest lyrics that could easily bring tears to the eyes…It is a calm lullaby with slightly boring acoustic guitar. It is not musically impressive, but the overall mood given off by the brilliant Brendon Urie might bring chills. It paints a beautiful picture of futuristic love.
Following “Always” is “The Calendar.” This track is the most abstract one on the album. It has a rough, scratchy beginning, and continues onto very confusing, but still upbeat, lyrics. The lyrics that caught my are “put another x on the calendar, summer’s on its deathbed.” It is similar to the works of Pretty.Odd., but it is slightly filled with more pop. The lyrics seem as though they were messily put together. The solid strings and drums at the end are the only musically impressive part. “Sarah Smiles” is the next track on Vices & Virtues. It is written for Sarah, the girlfriend of the lead singer Brendon Urie. The introduction reminds me of an old western song with a funky beat. It is clear that it is a love song, and it contains very basic lyrics and rhyming. It is quite boring, but thankfully picks up towards the end with solid brass and a random Spanish-like beat. Like every other track on the album, the vocals are rich and backed up sparingly by strings. There is an adorable acapella piece that exemplifies Urie’s vocals.
The last song on Vices & Virtues is “Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met…).” It is my favorite track on the album. There is a clear storyline, displayed by the spoken part of a teacher in the beginning. A children’s choir is featured singing in French. The quirky beats and random background pick up the pace and keep the excitement flowing. The lyrics are powerful and intricate, and instantly remind me of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. The lyrics “Ever since we met, I only shoot up with your perfume” is featured in the chorus. Those silly, unusual lyrics make the listener feel comfortable with Panic! no matter if they are new to the band or have been die-hard since the beginning. This track truly enlightens the heart and is guaranteed to put a smile to your face. “Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met…)” is absolutely gorgeous and ties the sounds all past musical pieces from the band with a new twist.
Vices & Virtues is a lovely, strong album from Panic! at the Disco. The satisfying lyrics paired with the basic but beautiful music makes a great third album for the duo. The clear strings and outgoing vocals presented in every track bring a sense of euphoria. Some may have doubted Panic! at the Disco could produce an impressive album without the main songwriter Ryan Ross, but it is obvious they have. The compliance of Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith has created an impressive masterpiece that is sure to please all fans.