Album Review: Pray for the Wicked

Album Review: Pray for the Wicked

Panic! At the Disco has released another album on June 22, 2018 following their 2016 release of Death of a Bachelor. Their latest release Pray for the Wicked follows a cohesive uptempo beat with dark undertones within the theme of the album. Urie’s lyrics touch on the concept of success and its aftermath; whether the reality of success brings an influx of happiness or dissociates you from your emotions.

  1. 220px-PATD_PFTW“(F*** A) Silver Lining” – This song was certainly a powerful start to the album (per usual). The vocals of Brendon Urie always call for attention in the best way possible. The beat seems closer to hip-hop than previous albums, alongside choral cuts mixed in and prominent horn sections (synthesized, but would be cool if it was a live horn section in concert). This song presents a disregard for the notion that everything is always okay, which is an interesting way to start an album.
  2. “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” – An interesting beat, certainly attempting to diversify their sound without changing their aesthetic. However, this may be my least favorite song on the album as the “Saturday night” seems slightly generic for this band but appeals to wider audience. Additionally, it’s not as lyrically intriguingas most of the other songs from Panic! At the Disco or their past albums.
  3. “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” – A somewhat 1975 reminiscent intro. So far, it has been one of the  softer songs. It emphasizes against the irony of the concept of success in the music business versus its reality for many artists.
  4. “High Hopes” – Again more synthesized horns, a little too much, in my opinion, as I prefer the sound of live instruments. This song surrounds themes of success and trials to success; having high expectations for yourself, in a way; and Brendon embracing the success he’s had with the band and his solo career. There is an interesting bridge that mimics a drop in more electronic types of music, which I found very intriguing.
  5. “Roaring 20s” – This is my favorite song on this album. I absolutely love the piano at the beginning. To me, this is the type of lyrical intricacy that I expect from most of the songs on this album. Additionally, Urie’s vocal prowess is highlighted more so in this song. “Roaring 20s” takes on a dual meaning as it references the façade that was the economic success of the 20s that was followed by the Great Depression and collapse of the economic system in the US, and also the section of life Urie is now entering.
  6. “Dancing’s Not A Crime” – This song gives a happier tone to the album, expressing cathartic release through dance in a more upbeat manner. Again, there is a solid horn presence. I could see it being popular on the radio and respect the line “‘Cause I just wanna be your boyfriend/girlfriend” as I view it as an embrace of LGBTQIA community.
  1. “One of the Drunks” – This is one of the more downtempo and mellow beats in the album.  I would actually love if Lorde did a downtempo cover of this song as it seems like the way she presents the issues of pop culture. It touches on binge drinking culture in US.
  2. “The Overpass” – SO MANY HORNS. Jazz-y and mission impossible-y, the lyric “So sorry to say / Someone still loves you,” implies internal struggle.
  3. “King of the Clouds” – I absolutely love the a cappella start to this song (always beautiful Brendon),  The emphasis on emotional dissociation from success is a sad theme to this song, but one that is prevalent today in many ways.
  4. “Old Fashioned” – It seems a number of these songs reference the drinking culture in the US. Although this is not the main point behind this song, I can’t help but feel it’s mimicked again on the album here. I found the dissonance at end of verses and key changes extremely interesting and authentic for Panic! At the Disco in this song and wish they would have included more types of songs like this on the album.
  5. “Dying in LA” – This song reminds me of La La Land, honestly. I know that’s not as deep as the song intends, as it clearly references the toxicity of the Los Angeles type of atmosphere and the effect it can have on someone. But the type of struggle emphasized in La La Land I feel connects to this song very well. Apparently, the birds chirping at the end of the song were real birds recorded outside of Urie’s studio as well.

– Victoria Traxler

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