Album Review: Panic! At the Disco – Pray for the Wicked – June 2018

Friday June 22nd, 2018 brings us Panic! at the Disco’s sixth studio album, Pray for the Wicked. The title comes from the second track, Say Amen (Saturday Night), one of the album’s three singles. This song, along with the other two pre-released singles, Silver Lining and High Hopes, are great examples of Panic!’s up tempo style. Though their verbose song naming style has matured since their perplexingly titled I Write Sins Not Tragedies off of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out back in 2005, you can still count on this Las Vegas based group to keep you moving.

Silver Lining opens the album on a high note with a quick beat and great lyrics telling a story of success. As the song says “it’s coming up cherries on top” for this long lived band. Their style has evolved over the years from their debut on the alternative scene helping them stay relevant with a broader audience. The backing band has seen a lot of changes over the years, but frontman Brendon Urie is still captivating and energetic thirteen years later.

Say Amen (Saturday Night) is the perfect party song. Our lead singer is praying for the wicked on the weekend on a Saturday night. This is sure to be a song that folks are going to want to blast as they head out for a bit of debauchery at the end of the work week. (Mama can I get an Amen?)

Our third track is a sweet song titled Hey Look Ma, I Made It. This is bit mellower than our first two, but still with a great feel. And hey, I’m a sucker for a boy singing to his Mom. With a theme reminiscent of Silver Lining and success, here we also hear about some of the downsides of making it big, including fake friends and “pimp” record labels.

High Hopes is our third single from Pray for the Wicked and also a third call out to moms with our singer telling us some of the things his mama advised. Such as mama said don’t give up, it’s a little complicated. This track is about keeping your hopes up on the way to success. Who better to give that advice than a mother? Take mom’s great advice and play it with upbeat notes and smooth vocals and you’ve got a winner.

These first four entries are definitely my favorites of the bunch. They’re catchy and up tempo with fantastic sing along choruses. But, there is certainly more to look forward to with the remaining seven selections.

If you’re a fan of the retro feel of Death of a Bachelor you’ll like Roaring 20s. A bit faster paced than Bachelor, it still has that old fashioned vibe, matching up with the more sophisticated look that Brendon Urie is sporting these days.

Dancing’s Not A Crime and One of the Drunks give off a funky vibe with some electronic sounds. The Overpass has a big band sound and some great female backing vocals. Something about it reminds me of Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time. Maybe it’s the mention of sketchy girls and lipstick boys. I think these folks are up to some trouble, but it’s definitely going to be a good time.

The ninth track opens on a sweeter note with Urie’s vocals creating a smooth flow. His softer tone here is a great opening for this song about flying high and ascending ladders, getting lifted to become King of the Clouds. Old Fashioned is a great example of versatility. There are some fantastic tempo and style changes that keep the song interesting.

We end on a ballad with Dying In LA. This final track opens with sweet, slow vocals and some fantastic piano work. A wonderful finishing note showing that this group is about more than just fast beats and crazy weekends.

The Pray for the Wicked tour kicks off in Minneapolis on July 11th. There are a total of 68 shows spanning seven months and several continents. Be sure to check out the latest from this enduring band. I know I’m looking forward to catching them in Boston on July 25th.

Panic! At the Disco – Pray for the Wicked
01. Silver Lining
02. Say Amen (Saturday Night)
03. Hey Look Ma, I Made It
04. High Hopes
05. Roaring 20’s
06. Dancing’s Not A Crime
07. One Of The Drunks
08. The Overpass
09. King Of The Clouds
10. Old Fashioned
11. Dying In LA

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