LAS VEGAS — Despite what you might've previously thought ... and despite what their label's online store tells you, Panic! at the Disco's upcoming album isn't their second, but rather, their third.
"We've had quite an interesting last nine months," guitarist Ryan Ross said. "We were in the mountains for a while, writing songs, and we moved to L.A. for a bit, and then we decided to start over in July. So now we're kind of trying to finish writing this second second record. Actually, it's almost like our third record, since we were like three-quarters finished with the other one before we scrapped it."
By now, the process of making album number thr — uh, two, has been about as well-documented as it has been confusing: Sessions started in earnest earlier this year, when Panic took up residence in a log cabin to begin writing songs (see "Panic! At The Cabin: Rockers Go Into Hibernation To Work On Sophomore Disc"), songs which the band had apparently scrapped — in favor of more stripped-back numbers — by the time MTV News spoke with them in August (see "Panic! At The Disco Try A Different Tack For New LP: Simplicity"). But up until now, no one was really sure why the band decided to trash an album's worth of material (though some have certainly had suspicions).
So, RyRo ... care to fill us in?
"We were just piecing stuff together up in the cabin. We would take lyrics, and we didn't really have ... a band set up," he explained. "We were just writing on pianos and guitars separately and just throwing other things in there, and it didn't really sound like a band, it sounded like a film score.
"We went through a stage of writing that just happened because we were on tour for so long, and we were sick of those old songs so much that we decided to write songs that were really complicated and challenging for us," he continued. "Then we realized that it's not going to be any fun to play these live either, so we decided to ditch the whole project. There was a story line throughout the whole record, a short story, and we decided to put that on the shelf and just start playing as a band, and it's been a lot better."
So that means that the "love story" Ross mentioned back in April seems to have been jettisoned (see "Panic! At The Disco Planning 'Love Story' — And Dr. Dre Hookup?"). But what are the new new songs about then?
"We've got about six or seven songs that are pretty much complete ... and [they're] a lot more uplifting. They've got a more positive outlook to them. It's kind of hard to write a bunch of sad songs if you're not sad anymore," Ross said. "I guess they're pretty different than the songs on the first album. I mean, we wrote those songs like three to four years ago, so obviously we've changed a lot in terms of everything — what we like and what we think is good."
Ross wouldn't say just when Panic plan to enter the studio to begin recording the follow-up to A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, but drummer Spencer Smith was more than willing to let loose with the information: First and foremost, Panic will be staying at home to work on the album, recording it in the Studio at the Palms (it's the same ultra-slick Vegas spot that the Killers chose to record their Sam's Town album; see "Killers' Next LP Will Show Strong Influence Of ... Bruce Springsteen!?"). And when will fans be able to hear some actual music?
"We want to have the new single out by the end of the year, probably around Christmas," Smith said. "And then have the album out in February. We hope."