Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time
Oh, 2005! The time of MySpace, Hot Topic, fishnet gloves, duct tape purses, vampires, The Corpse Bride, and…? Panic! At The Disco’s first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out.
Fans of Evanescence, Fall Out Boy, Flyleaf, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Skillet, and Three Days Grace now had another band to add to their playlist! Panic! At The Disco formed in Las Vegas in 2004. Originally a cover band for Fall Out Boy, they began posting demos online, which caught the attention of Pete Wentz. Soon enough, their first album was released by Fueled By Ramen. It wasn’t very long after its September release, that fans had memorized the music videos for the two songs listed below and were singing along during lunch at school and weekends at the mall. This started a life-long love for the band and Brendon Urie. (I still have the lyric “This was no accident; this was a therapeutic chain of events” on all my social media and author website.) So! Here are 10 Panic! At The Disco songs throughout the years to bring out your inner Emo Kid.
A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out was Panic! At The Disco’s debut album, dropped in September of 2005. The album is divided into halves stylistically; the first half is primarily pop-punk with elements of electronic, while the second employs more traditional instrumentation, with influences of baroque pop. Incidentally, both singles were after the intermission.
1. “But It’s Better If You Do”
With a 1920’s prohibition theme, it takes place in an illegal strip-club where Brendon Urie is both a guest and singer. Though it was not as popular as the next song, it is still one of the most well-known productions of the group.
“Now I’m of consenting age,
To be forgetting you in a cabaret.
Where a burlesque queen
May even ask my name….”
2. “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”
There isn’t a single Panic! At The Disco fan out there that doesn’t know this song. The title, the lyrics, the music video – almost every fan has memorized it and recall it even 16 years later. A weird and crazy mix between the traditional and the fanciful nature of a circus, this was the group’s big step into finding their unique presence in the music community.
“Oh, well imagine,
As I’m pacing the pews in a church corridor,
And I can’t help but to hear,
No, I can’t help but to hear an exchanging of words….”
Vices And Virtues was Panic! At The Disco’s third album, which was dropped in March 2011. Because of the band splitting, this album took two years to be released and made Brendon Urie the primary voice and songwriter for the band. When on tour, (which I was able to see in Cleveland as a high school graduation present), it was only him and the drummer left from the original group.
3. “The Ballad Of Mona Lisa”
The first single to be released, the music video stepped away from the Emo phase of 2005 and grabbed the chance for another popular subculture, Steampunk. Brendon Urie still just as theatrical as in his Fever work, there is a whole separate story brought to life away from the lyrics.
“She paints her fingers with a close precision.
He starts to notice empty bottles of gin,
And takes a moment to assess the sin
She’s paid for….”
4. “Sarah Smiles”
This song was chosen for this list because of the lyrics, seeming a little more “Emo” than some of the other songs on the album. Due to the unsuccessful nature of Panic! At The Disco’s second album and the band splitting, the group was now faced with having to re-find their unique sound. Leaning away from the Emo and Scene nature of their first album, Vices And Virtues is their stepping stone to becoming a rock-pop band.
“I was fine, just a guy living on my own,
Waiting for the sky to fall.
Then you called and changed it all, doll.
Velvet lips and the eyes to pull me in.
We both know you’d already win.
Mm, your original sin….”
Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die was released in 2013 and was seen by fans as a solo album for Brendon Urie, (though, still under the Panic! At The Disco name). Very experimental, almost every song has a completely different sound. Brendon Urie really saw this as an opportunity to try things he’d never had the freedom to do before, because of his bandmates and the expectations that came with being a group producing multiple albums. To be fair, I did not like the album at first, too used to Fever and Vices. However, after Death Of A Bachelor, I went back for another listen and fell in love.
What is more Emo than a broken heart? A broken-hearted love song of course. Shot exclusively in black and white, Brendon shows there is nowhere to hide when it comes to the pain that love and loss can bring. Matching the lyrics perfectly, almost everyone will be able to relate to this song.
“Cross my heart and hope to die,
Burn my lungs and curse my eyes.
I’ve lost control and I don’t want it back,
I’m going numb, I’ve been hijacked.
It’s a fucking drag….”
6. “Casual Affair”
The sound of this song is absolutely unique and ethereal. It is totally a throwback song, where you could be in the 90’s, driving country roads on a Summer night, windows down with the wind blowing through your hair. There is an odd quietness about it, where you could be laying in a meadow, staring up at the stars. There is always more than meets the eye.
“Hey, a casual affair,
That could go anywhere
And only for tonight.
Take any moment, any time.
A lover on the left
A sinner on the right….”
Death Of A Bachelor, released in 2016, brought the official news that everyone had left the group except for Brendon Urie. Brendon Urie now Panic! At The Disco, everything from this point on was and is his voice, direction, and artistic output. This album is a far cry from Fever, stylistically, but still shows growth and creativity and was extremely successful.
7. “Emperor’s New Clothes”
Because of my initial disinterest in Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die, I had my misgivings of a new album, (still in love with the Fever and Vices sound). As soon as my little brother showed me the music video for this album’s third single, I was hooked. Crazy cool, creative, and fun, this video shows that there is still an Emo/Goth side to Brendon Urie.
“Finders keepers, losers weepers.
Welcome to the end of eras.
Ice has melted back to life.
Done my time and served my sentence,
Dress me up and watch me die.
If it feels good, tastes good,
It must be mine….”
8. “House Of Memories”
Though this is not one of the three singles released, this song was chosen for this list because of the lyrics and message. Similar to “Nicotine”, this song exploits what it means to love, to lose, for people to grow together and grow apart. This song is one anyone can relate to whether they are thinking about their own life or their relationships with family, friends, and significant others.
“If you’re a lover, you should know,
The lonely moments just get lonelier
The longer you’re in love,
Than if you were alone….”
Pray For The Wicked was released in 2018. Brendon Urie/Panic! At The Disco now at its most popular, with many tours, shows, and singles being released around this time. (Urie/Panic! doing a cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” for Suicide Squad and “Into The Unknown” for Frozen Two and the song “Say Amen – Saturday Night” being used for Saturday night football.) Living long enough to go from Emo to Pop, it is hard to compare the later albums like this to the earlier ones such as Fever. However, though the sound may be different, the talent, skill, and creativity of Brendon Urie still shine through.
9. “Say Amen – Saturday Night”
When the music video for this song was released, all I could think about was John Wick, (with a magical twist), and it is freakin’ fabulous. With the lyrics, there is a wonderful mix between being catchy and having a moral and can be oddly inspiring.
“Been trav’lin’ in packs that I can’t carry anymore,
Been waitin’ for somebody else to carry me.
There’s nothin’ that’s there for me at my door,
All the people I know aren’t who they used to be,
And if I try to change my life one more day
There would be nobody else to save,
And I can’t change into a person I don’t wanna be, so
Oh, it’s Saturday night….”
10. “Dying In LA”
I absolutely adore this song and it is one of the Panic! songs I recommend to everyone. This is also one of the great examples of throwbacks to previous work, older albums having songs that reference LA. Showing off Brendon Urie’s piano playing and voice, this song doesn’t need anything special to be fantastic. Though they are not the opening lyrics, these are why it is on the list:
“Every face along the boulevard,
Is a dreamer just like you.
You looked at death in a tarot card,
And you saw what you had to do.
But nobody knows you, no, when you’re dying in LA
And nobody owes you, no, when you’re dying in LA
When you’re dying in LA, when you’re dying in LA….”
Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die
They say life is about the journey and not the destination and Panic! At The Disco with Brendon Urie is a great example of that. From 2005 to 2020, fans have followed along with and grown aside the band and its singer. Though the newer albums have their own grouping on Spotify, there is nothing wrong with finding your old Fever You Can’t Sweat Out CD and connect with that inner Emo Kid wanting to make a MySpace playlist. Comment below your favorite Panic! songs and what you miss about the years before.
Author | English Major | #RealLifeBelle | Academic Romance | "This was no accident, this was a therapeutic chain of events." | www.TheMousyGirl.com