Thursday, March 24, 2011

You'll dance to anything

My intern is currently in the office and I don't really have any work for her. It's that awkward lull inbetween getting client info and deadline - nothing has come in and there's no real admin work to be done until the next issue comes out. So here I sit. I've gotten her to do things that are way ahead of schedule, but on my computer so it's left me with very little to do. Also I am tired, and I just want to sit here staring into space instead of feigning productivity and/or enthusiasm. Typing is productive, right?

Anyway, moving on to more important things.

Vices & Virtues, the new Panic! At The Disco album, is out and I finally had a chance to listen to it on the way to work this morning. Side note: remember when you used to buy an album and you'd sit by your stereo listening to it? That's why I like record players - it forces you to do that again, rather than say, listen to the album on itunes while doing a million other things online. People very rarely do that whole totally zoning in to just listen to an album thing anymore. I managed that to some degree with this one (and The King is Dead, the latest The Decemberists album) thanks to being stuck in traffic.

But yes. Simply put, Panic! is back, and it's spectacular. Vices & Virtues has all the poptastic danceability of A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, while keeping some of the experimental sounds and maturity of Pretty.Odd. - just without the LSD aftertaste. As always, this has a real sense of spectacle around it. That's precisely what I love about this band. For some reason, it always has this carnival-circus tone. Maybe it's because Brendon's ringmaster get-up from the 'I write sins not tragedies' video is forever entrenched in my consciousness, I don't know. It's just something so uniquely Panic! (I am stupidly happy to have the exclamation mark back) - an essence of amateur vaudevillian dramatics that's just so infectious.

The album really works for me. Brendon has such a unique voice and it is much more effective in this return to a more dance-friendly sound. Not that the stripped back moments aren't great - 'Always' is lovely example of less sometimes being more - but Panic! just does excess so well that it's hard not to want them to indulge. I think that's testament to their distinct musicality, and Brendon's natural showmanship. Even though I've only listened to it in its entirety once, this album makes me want to see them play live again. I just know they'll rip it up.

It's funny, I've actually been thinking about how this will play out for a while. After the split, and all. In this case, I think Ryan needed Brendon in order to gain the confidence to really explore music and without it,  he would never have gone off to do his own thing. Ryan was without a doubt the writer, something that's immediately apparent with Vices - the lyrics' straightforward imagery and similes is in stark contrast to the tricky wordplay and intertextuality of earlier. But Brendon is the one who has always carried it. He is one of those people who makes music seem absolutely effortless. He has a talent for the stage. I think that's why Panic! continues to work while The Young Vines...well, you can have all the best intentions in the world, but they don't mean much if you can't get them across convincingly. Not that it's a competition, but it is interesting. Well, at least to me.

So, what does this say? Sheer raw musical talent will always prevail? I guess that's not a bad thing - even if the music industry is overloaded with examples quite to the contrary.  Doesn't matter. All I know is I didn't even realise how much I missed Panic! until this morning. Bring on the tour.

Music: Hurricane - Panic! At The Disco

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