There’re certain moments you remember in music you remember clear as day, like that time Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day smashed his guitar at the iHeart Radio fest, or when Taylor Swift was interrupted by Kanye West on the VMA’s; Stuff like that. One of those memorable moments is the day Panic! At The Disco revived their exclamation point. Okay, maybe not as iconic but close… Right? As someone who has followed this band since quite honestly the beginning there’s certain moments in time that are embedded in the darkest crevasses of the mind, loggin’ on to a giant MacBook computer and loading the black screen to reveal the new era of Panic! At The Disco.
As memorable as the webpage was for this Panic! At The Disco comeback, the video for “The Ballad Of Mona Lisa” may have topped that. With the combination of nostalgia in the Top Hat, to mixing with this reinvention of steampunk. The track itself embodies growth, it brought back the Rock edge that was lost in Pretty. Odd., but put-forth a new vibrant addition of Pop. The song showcases growth and a hunger for diversity. Following “The Ballad Of Mona Lisa” is “Let’s Kill Tonight,” the song puts a bit more of dramatics in, between theatrics in string instruments to underlying Pop and Rock tones. This track is a gem among what’s to come on this album.
“Hurricane,” is a song that has a lot to offer; What’s worth mentioning is the ending of the track before it, “Let’s Kill Tonight,” ending on an assortment of string instruments bringing the two songs together. “Hurricane” enters with a sound effect of a vibrating phone and the chorus’ sound as a ring-tone jingle, exploring creativity even further. The song puts more emphasis on lead vocalist Brendon Urie’s vocals, and zones in even more on their new-found love for Pop. The song also adds certain elements such as howling directly after the words “I am wolf among the sheep”, giving it a cinematic touch. As the song comes to a close, the outro features casino-meets-elevator-music with what sounds like a crowd of people talking alongside brass instruments, working its way into the next track, “Memories,” which is a nice calm track – It’s always been a bit of a question mark; It’s refreshing but has always felt like a pit-stop in these intricate and dance-able tracks that came before it.
Next on the Vices & Virtues tracklist comes “Trade Mistakes”. The song introduction provides an ear-pleasing moment of string instruments and carries out moments of passion from Urie’s vocals. It’s a subtle yet technically impressive song. “Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind)” follows “Trade Mistakes,” adding that Pop-based spark that was absent from the last two tracks. Maybe it’s the fact that this song was featured in that one commercial for Six Flags, or the fact that Urie has the resemblance of Ducky from Pretty In Pink in the video, but this track is the definition of what fun should sound like. “Always” is next to hit listeners ears, the song is soft and sweet, and is a breath of fresh air continuing on with its acoustic moment.
“The Calendar” comes next, this song gives off a nice smooth tone; It’s easy listening. Urie’s vocals stay stagnant throughout and there’s a minor transition towards the end adding a bit of Rock to this song. As “The Calendar” comes to a close, listeners are greeted with a second of a drum solo, which then leads into what can only be described as well orchestrated elevator music with an edge. The instrumentals focus-in on a deep bassline with chimes of a xylophone. Next comes “Sarah Smiles,” a track that taps into the band’s Pretty. Odd. days, just not as drastic. It’s a charming and upbeat song, highlighting moments of trumpet, stick-work on the drums and other elements that add a little extra to the song. “Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met)” which begins with a choir-like introduction, but in French before the track beings fully, kicks up with an electric guitar before launching into the rest of the song. The song has many transitions throughout the song, and really brings together the whole record together.
Vices & Virtues brought life back into P!ATD fans who had lost hope in them during the Pretty. Odd. stage of their career; It was a moment of reinvention and was done in a graceful way. This record was not one to be slept on.