Panic! at the Disco’s Flourishes Weren’t Just Dramatic. They Were Theater.

Panic! at the Disco

Maya Phillips, writing at The New York Times, looks back on Panic! at the Disco’s debut:

Fifteen years ago, a mysterious top-hatted figure and a parade of circus performers interrupted a wedding in a music video with an unconventional soundtrack: an energetic pop-punk song with a bouncy, carnivalesque cello opening.

This is how Panic! at the Disco announced itself in the “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” video, the first from its 2005 debut album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out.” Though the band has undergone many reinventions in the years since, it’s closely associated with its original aesthetic: a distinctive theatrical sensibility that drew on the sound of early 2000s pop-punk while also referencing vintage performance styles — burlesque, vaudeville, old Broadway musicals — to illustrate themes of duplicity, addiction and broken relationships.