Band matures with ‘Pretty. Odd.’
Panic at the Disco is a band one hates to love or loves to hate. After receiving mixed criticism in 2005 for its successful debut album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, the band releases a sophomore effort, Pretty. Odd.
As a fan of Fever, one would expect the same witty synthesizer-laden pop-punk songs with criminally catchy choruses, but Panic at the Disco has taken on the challenge of progression with Pretty. Odd. The synthesizer and keys are replaced by grand pianos and orchestral arrangements.
"We’re So Starving," the introduction track, boasts a tongue-in-cheek lyric about the band’s current status, as they sing "You don’t have to worry / Cause we’re still the same band."
The feel-good first single, "Nine in the Afternoon" is an upbeat power-pop song, which seems to be the new style Panic is trying to embrace. Fans of Fever will have no problem getting into this song, although it might be the only song that remotely resembles the debut.
Pretty. Odd.’s best asset is its amount of diversity. From the swinging styles on "I Have Friends in Holy Spaces," to the dreamy balladry in "Northern Downpour," to the bluegrass approach to "Folkin’ Around," Panic at the Disco has spent a great deal of time trying to stay away from the uniformity of its debut.
It would be nearly impossible to find a single review of this album without an allusion to the huge Beatles influence on Pretty. Odd. However blasphemous it may be, it’s hard to deny that Panic at the Disco did not try to achieve that sound.
Panic at the Disco has matured in every sense of the word. They have finally stopped riding the coattails of label mates Fall Out Boy. Singer Brendan Urie will shed the comparisons to Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, as he steps into his own rite on this album.
The other members have grown into their instruments as well by incorporating new sounds and styles, most notably the guitarist, who has taken on a classic rock approach, heard in songs such as "That Green Gentleman."
Panic at the Disco is attempting to rid itself of gimmicks explored on previous ventures such as the vaudevillian circus act that it glorified on several tours. The band earns a more legitimate place on our playlist with this latest endeavor.
Panic at the Disco even dropped the "!" from the band name. If that doesn’t scream maturity, I don’t know what does.
This release is destined to alienate a good portion of the group’s existing fan base, which tends to be your standard pre-pubescent teenager. Although Panic is "still the same old band," the album is definitely a step up from its older material, and is not likely to catch on with many fans.
Pretty. Odd., while a solid effort overall, doesn’t seem like an album with much lasting power, which will be its biggest downfall. If anything, some people will listen to the album based on their curiosity about the validity of The Beatles comparisons, others will continue to despise this band, labeling this. Some will even pretend that they’ve never heard of the band.
Pretty. Odd. was released on Fueled By Ramen/Decaydance Records on March 25.