“Are you ready for the sequel?” sings Brendon Urie confidently on the third track, “Hey Look Ma, I Made It,” and if Panic’s rabid fan-base is any indication, they are more than ready for whatever Urie has in store for them. On Panic! At the Disco’s sixth album, Pray for the Wicked, Brendon Urie is clearly having a blast and is 100% comfortable with who he is as not only an artist, but as a person as well.
Produced by Jake Sinclair (Fall Out Boy, Weezer), the sheen and textures found on this LP are polished, but not over-produced. Coming off the successful and Grammy-nominated Death of a Bachelor album, Panic! is well equipped for the demands being put forth by their eager audience. If Death of a Bachelor was the self-reflective album of Urie’s career, then Pray for the Wicked is the full-blown party album.
Panic! gets things started on the right foot with the blazing “(Fuck A) Silver Lining” that sounds straight out of a Vegas show-tune with the usual Panic-flair. Urie says that, “Everything is coming cherries on top,” which leads me to believe he is having the time of his life and all is right in his world. The lead single, “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” is vintage Panic! material, with its theatrical build up to a massive sing-a-long chorus. The song also features some impressive falsetto vocals towards the end of the track that were tested out multiple times in Panic’s live album released earlier this year.
“High Hopes” sounds as much like a Fall Out Boy song as humanly possible without his buddies coming in to collect royalties for the song. “Roaring 20s” finds Urie reflecting on his age, and possibly the endless touring he has experienced, while singing in the chorus, “This is my roaring, roaring 20’s/I don’t even know me/Roll me like a blunt, ’cause I wanna go home.” Even though Urie may be getting a tad fatigued by his rock-star career choice, he seems to find the silver linings in each of the situations he describes on this album.
On “Dancing’s Not a Crime,” Panic! is on a mission to get everyone moving, and this track will likely be a crowd favorite on their upcoming tour. One of my favorite songs on the album is the recently-released single “King of the Clouds,” since it sounds like a R&B track on steroids, and is backed by a stellar horn section to make it reach the heights it was intended to.
The surprising choice of a beautiful piano ballad to end this album called “Dying in LA” redeemed this album in a lot of ways for me. For starters, it helps balance the overall energy of the earlier tracks and showcases the talent to Urie truly has as not only a singer, but as an accomplished musician and artist.
Overall, Panic! does not cover too much new ground on this album, but they put forth a consistent message of looking for the “good” when times around us are feeling rough. Although I didn’t enjoy this album as much as the brilliant Death of a Bachelor, there are still enough rewarding tracks found on this album to keep me coming back to the “party.”