Death of a Bachelor is Panic! at the Disco’s fifth album, and the only one so far to have the band consist solely of lead vocalist Brendon Urie. Urie plays all the instruments and sings all vocal parts on this record, harkening back to his youth where he played any instrument he could get his hands on.
While Death of a Bachelor is more of a lateral move from 2013’s Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die, Urie has held his word to not get comfortable or repeat sound and content. To that end, Urie cites Frank Sinatra as inspiration for the entire album, as is discernible from the horns and melodies throughout.
The Sinatra sound is especially notable on “Impossible Year,” which is full of rounded Ol’ Blue Eyes vocals — it’s pure Sinatra magic — and the title track. Urie described “Death of a Bachelor” when it came out on social media as “the bittersweet (but mostly sweet) end of an era. . . an It’s a Wonderful Life-esque look into a possibly different future.”
The Sinatra vibe is dulled down and mixed with others for “Crazy=Genius.” It’s almost the album in a song, going from swinging jazz to the more contemporary feel of Panic! at the Disco’s style.
There are more than just the tributes to Urie’s hero, with the chorus of “Victorious” posed to become a sports-arena refrain: “Tonight we are victorious/Champagne pouring over us/All my friends were glorious. . .”
“Hallelujah” is in a tie for my favourite song on the album. It’s rooted firmly in gospel, but the message very much reflects past work, like Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die’s “This is Gospel.” It’s all about being who you are, embracing it, and not changing for others, “All you sinners stand up, sing hallelujah.”
Its competition is “The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty,” a composition full of swaggering attitude with a healthy dash of “I dare you” to boot. It’s super catchy, “If you wanna start a fight/You better throw the first punch/Make it a good one,” and an apt anthem anytime someone’s trying to show you up. I guarantee that if you launch into this song, your foe will hightail it in the opposite direction.
Another song worth mentioning is “LA Devotee,” an up-tempo power pop track that’ll get your head bangin’. The harmonies on it are amazing, too. Pro-tip: great harmonies make great songs.
All in all, Death of a Bachelor is an excellent showcase of musical ability. From sweeping jazz and ‘50s/’60s swing, to the anthem rock of Queen, and Panic! at the Disco’s more contemporary work, the latest record from the band is full of an appreciation for the present.
Whether you’ve lived a life similar to Urie’s youth, full of breaking the rules and first-hand experimentation, or not, there’s something personally relatable in their music.