Anytime Panic! at the Disco releases new music, it is almost always judged against the band’s 2005 debut, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out.” Lead singer Brendon Urie has heard this a million times over and, regardless of what people think, he seems happy that an audience has an opinion - period.
“Either love it or hate it, but I hate the middle ground,” Urie told “The Ralphie Show” about the seemingly polarizing affect PATD’s music has since they were introduced with the super-hit “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” “That’s always going to be said: ‘We want the old stuff, we want the old sound.’”
That stated, it seems the new stuff is more on the loved than loathed side of the band’s fan base. “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die” debuted at number two last week on the Billboard chart, selling 84,000 copies. It certainly is a nice ode not just to Panic’s evolving sound, but also the personal stories that Urie shared throughout the album.
“A lot of times in the past, we’d make up stories,” Urie shared about previous songwriting material. “It could have been based on something personal, but it became this exacerbated thing and just exaggerated stories and lies. That’s always fun to do, but, yeah, this time around I kind of had the more hip-hop thing where, like, it’s just more confessional.”
Urie cites Drake and Kendrick Lamar as influences, but charts his love for the genre back decades.
“I was always in to A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul and a bunch of different sounds,” Urie revealed. “It was already so eclectic in its own genre, but called the same thing.”
In addition to the storytelling, the lead singer channeled the hip-hop’s sonic diversity on PATD’s fourth album.
“This record for us is the most eclectic we’ve had so far,” Urie noted. “It’s like 80s synth-pop and like, hip-hop influence, and some like, 80’s anthem-rock influence.”
The inspiration to continuously change was also behind the choice of “Miss Jackson” as the first radio single from the LP.
“‘Miss Jackson,’ for me, sounded like nothing we’ve ever done before,” he explained. “I felt like it was the best introduction to this album.”
While Urie conceded that there will always be hints of that rookie effort in Panic’s music (he mentioned the piano in “Casual Affair” as a specific example), don’t expect anything of the band’s to sound like “A Fever” again, especially with the immediate success of the recent release.
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