Having spent the past hour or so unpacking the allusions and symbolism embedded deep within Panic! At The Disco’s new video, “Nicotine,” we can confidently say that the song is comparing a smoking addiction to the feeling of addiction one feels in a toxic relationship. (Your heart says no! Your lungs say no! Your FRIENDS say no! But your body says “MORE PLEASE!”)
But just in case we’re off there, let’s take a closer look at the lyrics to be sure: “Cross my heart and hope to die,” Brendan Urie sings in the starkly lit, black and white clip as he trudges through snowbanks, broods forlornly, and paces relentlessly in a lonely room: “Burn my lungs and curse my eyes/ I’ve lost control, and I don’t want it back.”
“I’m going numb, I’ve been hijacked,” he laments, as the cold air exhales from his lungs in billows. “It’s a f***ing drag.” Drag? Like… A DRAG OF A CIGARETTE? (Also: a pretty girl has cute bangs.)
“It’s better to burn than to fade away,” he goes on, referencing the old Neil Young canard, infamously reinterpreted by Kurt Cobain. And then, as if we still weren’t sure how this whole analogy thing works, he hammers the point home: “I’m losing to you, baby, I’m no match… You’re worse than nicotine, nicotine.”
Smoking references are so pervasive in music, but it’s always important to be reminded that smoking is bad — just in case that wasn’t clear from the song. But you know, it also kind of feels good — until it doesn’t and then it kills you. Which is bad!
The video for the song, off Panic!’s Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die album, was directed by Kai Regan, who’s worked with them before, as well as with Cee-Lo Green and CocoRosie. “We were excited to work with Kai again,” Urie said in a statement. “He’s super creative and we love his visual aesthetic. We managed to film almost the whole thing in one day at a cemetery in Queens. It was freezing cold and snowing out but totally worth it.”
Funny, that’s exactly what Ol’ Man Jenkins used to say every day in the winter when he’d go out for a cigarette, and now he’s dead. But seriously, enjoy the video!
Catch Panic! At The Disco touring… basically forever, specifically from now through August 2014, picking up New Politics, Magic Man, Walk The Moon and Youngblood Hawke later this summer on “The Gospel” tour.
Photo credit: Fueled By Ramen