There are a million albums out there that I don’t like or in which I take absolutely no interest. The number that I actively hate is a lot smaller. It takes something special to make me despise a band and the music that they create. Panic! At the Disco have pulled that off with Death of a Bachelor. Even more impressively, they’ve pulled it off while getting me to like some of the songs.
The hatred comes from the fact that this is the most vapid, self-obsessed, and over the top collection of music likely to be released this year or quite possibly in the next two hundred. Just a few seconds into the stupidly annoying intro to ‘Victorious’, I wanted to stab myself in the ear. When Brendon Urie starts jabbering on about ‘double bubble disco queen headed to the guillotine, skin as cool as Steve McQueen’ I genuinely considered turning it off.
And I’m glad I didn’t, because by continuing we learn that it isn’t me I want to stab, but everyone in this fucking band. This album feels like the ultimate in rock and roll excess and yet without any of the fun. I refuse to believe that they left anything on the cutting room floor, and it makes songs like ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ into a clusterfuck of messed up ideas.
Yet, I don’t hate it all. When they cut some of that shite away Panic! can still write a decent track. ‘Hallelujah’ being the perfect example. But that’s not enough because the second they start blabbing on about being an ‘LA Devotee’ and being ‘always on the hunt for a little bit more’ I can’t help but feel that they are awful people. Living an existence that they believe we should all be aspiring to, but is just shit.
There are people out there who adore this band, and while I couldn’t be further from that point, I do kind of get it. Urie is playing rock star, and he does it well. I might be staring slack-jawed, wondering why the hell they’ve decided to sample the bass riff from ‘Rock Lobster’ on ‘Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time’. Or pondering whether he is as self-obsessed as the title track makes out, but rock and roll was built on this excess and at the very least it’s never dull. It’s just a shame that when you scratch beneath the surface, there is literally nothing there. It’s the musical equivalent of a massive, elaborate party which is filled with beautiful cunts. It might look nice, but do you want to be there?