What's the mysterious message Panic! at the Disco are trying to convey on their Web site? Well, their fans aren't really sure ... but they'd like to buy a vowel.
It all started Wednesday, when Panic sent out a cryptic MySpace bulletin with a link to their site and the message "and so it begins ..." Fans who went to the site were greeted with a row of 23 boxes, some containing letters, others left blank. It reminded some of a "Wheel of Fortune" puzzle ("_O_ _ D_N_ _ H_V_ _T_ _ _ _ R _ Y_"), but Vanna White wasn't around to reveal more letters.
So the wild speculation began. Fan sites and message boards offered potential solutions — "You Don't Have to Hurry," "No I Don't Have Starry Rays" and "SoundsNowHoverToSunsRays" were some of the best — but most seemed to agree that it spelled out "You Don't Have to Worry." ... though it wasn't really clear what we weren't supposed to worry about.
Is "Worry" going to be the title of Panic's much-anticipated new album, which is scheduled to be released in March? Or perhaps it's the name of the single the band talked about releasing "around Christmas" when MTV News caught up with the guys in September. No one seemed to know.
And it all got even more mysterious when someone discovered that Panic (or someone close to them) had hidden another message in the source coding of the site. When fans right-clicked on the site and selected "View Source," they were greeted by, well, a greeting: "Oh, hello. Glad you could make it. Did you have any trouble finding the place? Hope you enjoy." (That welcome was temporarily replaced by a message that reads "YOU DON'T HAVE" followed by a link to an image of tacos. Seriously.)
It seemed to indicate that we are in the very early stages of what could be another Alternate Reality Game, one similar — though perhaps not as involved — as the scheme Trent Reznor cooked up to promote Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero. But, in keeping with the whole "mystery" vibe, no one close to the band was willing to spill the details of just what was going on with the site or what fans could expect in the future.
A spokesperson for Panic's label, Atlantic, said the mystery was "a puzzle ... something for the fans to figure out," while the band's manager, Bob McLynn, would only offer that "Panic got drunk and created an insane body of work in Vegas."