Panic! At The Disco have always been that something different from the standard emo rock sound, and that’s why we all fell in love with them back in 2005. Since then, they have released three stunning albums, each with more quirkiness than Zooey Deschanel in a Boulangerie (that’s a French bread shop, by the way).
The band’s fourth album takes P!ATD in a whole new direction and in places is heavily influenced by hip-hop. Mercifully, this album is free of any rapping (phew) and has been described by the band themselves as more of a “party record”. However, ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!’, though undeniably catchy, could may well disappoint a lot of P!ATD‘s current fanbase.
This album certainly takes some time to get used to. Upon the initial listen, there’s very little to be impressed by and I personally was left with a nagging feeling of disappoint and irritation. A few listens later, it has somewhat grown on me, but it’s clear this album is still one that falls short of the mark. There are some really catchy tracks here, like ‘Vegas Lights’, with its clever samples and infectious as hell riffs. It’s one of the better numbers of the album.
However, there’s more than a fair share of really bog-standard songs on ‘Too Weird To Live…’ too. It’s not that these songs are bad per se, there’s just nothing too them. They’re beyond simplistic to the point where they just boring. Sure, pop music is meant to be simple, but this is P!ATD we’re talking about. There are artistic expectations and pre-conceptions here which have not been met at all. There’s some artistic flare on the appropriately titled final track, ‘The End Of All Things’, which is a wonderful ballad accompanied by a simple piano and violin. As blissful, tranquil and awe-inspiring this track is, it’s sadly not enough to save the album.
While it’s certainly admirable that P!ATD are exploring new musical endeavours, sadly this is one that hasn’t worked out as well as it could have. Having said that, the track ‘Collar Full’ is quite typical of P!ATD and highlights that they’ve still not lost touch with their whimsical roots.
Now that all of the die-hard P!ATD fans have grown up from angst-ridden emo teenagers to young adults who go to the occasional clubs, perhaps this is an album to cater for them. Maybe the band are growing their style alongside their fans. Either way, ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!’ is still not up to the high standards that P!ATD have created for themselves and feels like more of a forced, label-dictated record than an organic album.
Written by Andy Roberts