Panic! at the Disco seem to pride themselves in never being the same band twice. They began as frilly dramaturges on A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, became stony, California –dreamin’ Canyon children on Pretty. Odd. and shifted into Steampunk-powered studio-heads for 2011’s Vices & Virtues.
On October 8, they’ll return with their fourth album, the decidedly dark Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! And that begs the question: just what kind of band will Panic! be this time around?
Well, according to frontman Brendon Urie, things are definitely going to be different … though, if there’s one thing that ties Panic’s latest to each of their previous efforts, it’s this: Too Rare! is definitely an all-over-the-place affair.
“It’s similar in that it’s eclectic;” he told MTV News. “But this time around, the songs are pretty different. One song sounds like it could be an ’80s, Depeche Mode type deal, another sounds like a mix of a Toto drum part with, like, weird arena-rock guitars. There were a lot of things I was pulling from; I listened to a lot of hip hop actually, like A$AP Rocky … all the new stuff that’s coming out was blowing my mind.
“Hip hop is doing the new rock thing; there are no rules,” he continued. “They can do anything, really. And that’s inspiring.”
And, in a telling nod to those hip-hop influences, Too Rare also sees a shift away from the guitar-and-piano based songs Urie wrote for Vices & Virtues to new, electronic-inspired tunes, written primarily on synthesizers and keyboards.
“I wanted to get away from a lot of the stuff I did on Vices & Virtues, and try these new toys that we only kind of messed with on the last record,” Urie explained. “I was using a lot more stuff in Logic, or if I had a lyric, trying to find a synth sound that would match that. A lot of it was experimenting with new synthesizers that I didn’t know where they’d take the song.”
As Urie previously told MTV News, while much of Too Rare is an ode to Panic’s Las Vegas roots, he’s also writing about his own personal experiences. First single “Miss Jackson” finds him repenting for previous relationship wrongs, and one of his favorite album tracks, “This Is Gospel,” lived for months on his laptop before he found the courage to share it with his bandmates.
And then, there’s a track called “Vegas Lights,” which, if Urie has his way, could end up being the anthem for Sin City.
“There are quite a few songs that are very personal, about things I’ve been through with different people in my life. But mostly, it’s about being back in Las Vegas,” he said. “There’s actually a song called ‘Vegas Lights,’ which I wanted to be an anthem for Vegas, that represented how I felt when I went to the clubs. I felt this weird energy where everybody was having a good time, and it didn’t matter. Dancing like nobody’s watching. It was kind of beautiful.”