Album Review: 'Pray for the Wicked'
Lindsey Lanham | Editor-in-Chief
Just two years after the release of their show-stopping album, “Death of a Bachelor,” Panic! At the Disco (exclamation point and all) has returned with “Pray For The Wicked.” Though it’s a clear attempt at keeping the same energy the band’s carried for years, the album still feels underwhelming.
Panic! At the Disco has lost many members through the years, and while the only remaining original member is Brendon Urie himself, he has managed to keep Panic! a household name.
The Beyonce/Frank Sinatra poptastic sound that Urie trademarked on “Death of Bachelor” clearly carries over to his newer music. This time around, unfortunately, the music is lackluster and the lyrics are average. While Panic! spent years trying to set themselves apart from every other band with bended genres and quippy one-liners, “Pray For The Wicked” offers nothing that the band hasn’t brought before.
That isn’t to say that the album is a total flop. Tracks “Say Amen (Saturday Night),” “Roaring 20s” and “Old Fashioned” all offer the same complexity fans are used to seeing in the band.
“Roaring 20s” features Urie singing about living life in his twenties. With Instagram caption-worthy lines like “Roll me like a blunt 'cause I wanna go home,” the song is stereotypical Brendon Urie. The music sounds like a modernized jazz club and stands out with a subtle layer of synth overlaid with a louder, more traditional rock sound.
Urie gets nostalgic in “Old Fashioned.” Having been in the music industry since he was a teenager, having him reminisce is a surprise to no one. The track starts with a funky beat, and while the take it or leave it chorus is nothing special, the verses stand out. Especially with the lines “We were borderline kids with a book of disorders / Medicatin' every day to keep the straightness in order,” which may allude to Urie’s sexuality.
“One Of The Drunks” is another ironic take on popularity. “(Fuck A) Silver Lining” name drops Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and more ‘fucks’ than a Tarantino movie. “King Of The Clouds” is a surprisingly distinct, honest track. Urie belts out “Some only live to die, I'm alive to fly higher,” which means that fans can only assume this song, much like the rest of the album, is the most autobiographical Urie has been.
“High Hopes” is another high point of the album. Featuring Urie’s strong, stand out vocals and the universal theme of dreaming of success that everyone can relate to. A stronger song, with string instruments and horns giving the allusion of a symphony. Unlike some of the other tracks, it isn’t loud and brash and unnecessary, each section of music feels like it adds something new to the song, something that all ears will enjoy.
The album ends with “Dying in LA.” While the piano and string medley is almost romantic, the lyrics are every rockstar cliche that we are tired of hearing. Urie croons “The moment you arrived, they built you up / The sun was in your eyes, you couldn't believe it,” most likely speaking from his personal own personal experiences with fame.
Though there were high hopes for “Pray For The Wicked,” Panic! didn’t deliver what fans were expecting. Overall, it’s a solid listen, but knowing what the band can achieve, one just can’t help wondering why there isn’t more.