There isn’t a soul who doesn’t recognize “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” as Panic! At The Disco’s pride and joy, and doesn’t admit that this is one of the best alternative rock songs out there. It was released back in 2006, when Panic!’s fame was at its peak. We haven’t heard of them since 2011 (Vices & Virtues), so it was a surprise when they released “Miss Jackson” this summer, a surprisingly good single for a band that was thought to have lost its popularity. Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die is another side of Panic!, a more electronic twist to their alternative rock.
Because there is the tendency to release an album’s best track before the album itself, “Miss Jackson” stands well above the rest of Too Weird, with it’s swinging rock and roll chants based off of Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” (1986). It’s clearly the fan (and radio) favorite, though this doesn’t mean the rest of the album isn’t worth a listen. An electric vibe infiltrates “This Is Gospel”, the album’s opener, during which I would’ve preferred to hear the raw talent of Brandon Urie’s voice rather than the autotune they mixed into the song, though I feel better during the chorus when things pick up. “Vegas Lights” is a fun party track, “Nicotine” holds its own, and “Girls/Girls/Boys” is upbeat, though a bit colorless at times. They’re solid mid-album tracks more telling of Panic!’s new style.
“Casual Affair” has a haunting yet irresistible electric melody that makes it stand out as one of Too Weird’s top tracks; you can still hear the drums pumping in your head long after you’ve turned it off. “Far Too Young To Die” and “Collar Full” are just as clever, (I’ve got a collar full of chemistry from your company/So maybe tonight I’ll be the libertine) and sound like something you’d listen to on a late-night drive through the city. In 15 lines of lyric, “At The End of All Things” manages to convey a plethora of emotion with the piano and violin instrumentals we hear in the background. Though I’d much prefer to hear an acoustic version of this song, I still feel the love-sickness in every second, and it makes for a beautiful finish to the album.
With Too Weird, Panic! strays from their old style–their style being weird, lengthily titled songs that were still somehow ingenious (But let’s be honest, did “There’s a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought of It Yet” have to have that long of a song title?). Too Weird , ironically enough, is too normal for a band like Panic!, but they manage to pull it off, even if some songs sound a bit M83. Some people who previously didn’t like Panic! might even consider them now, because this band has evolved along with the music industry and their new sound is more hard-hitting and electronic. Some fans might miss the quirkiness from Pretty. Odd. or A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, but these days are well behind them for a reason.
The ten tracks on this album (and the album’s title) are enough to say exactly what this band intended: as weird as they are, they aren’t planning to die out any time soon. Panic! holds too much talent to disappear from the music industry and they’re a once-in-a-lifetime combination of skills. On Too Weird, Panic! shows their strengths along with their superb orchestration and Urie’s uncanny vocal abilities. Score: 8/10.
Nataly Capote/A&E Editor