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Reviews

Panic! at the Disco “Viva Las Vengeance” Album Review

Viva Las Vengeance

Panic! At the Disco

    • Genre: Alternative
    • Date: 19 Aug, 2022
    • Content: Not-explicit
    • Region: USA
    • Track(s): 12
  • ℗ 2022 Fueled By Ramen LLC for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. A Warner Music Group Company

“Viva Las Vengeance” by Panic! at the Disco won’t ever be placed in the comedy section, but as you listen to its 12 songs, you might find yourself grinning and laughing repeatedly. It’s a logical, appreciative response to Brendon Urie’s bold design of the record as virtually a Spot the Classic-Rock Callback parlour game.

With the exception of a few allusions to the late ’60s or the early ’80s, almost everything here is meant to bring back pleasant memories of particular bands and sounds from the ’70s. The album is comparable to a frantic journey in a muscle vehicle when someone is continually fiddling with the radio in an attempt to experience the rush of hearing the ideal riff at the ideal time.

“Viva Las Vengeance,” is quite the odd album, to be honest. Pulling away from larger-than-life anthems about decadence and self-acceptance, this new record sees Urie channelling classic rock and talking to his younger self.

Album Cover Art

Panic! At The Disco &Quot;Viva Las Vengeance&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, October 4, 2022

Standing behind the band name and album title, inscribed in orange and grey, respectively, Urie can be seen donning a white singlet and over it, a matching orange and grey jacket of some sort with a splash of yellow on the sides. Telling from the creative design of the jacket, there is a bit of experimentation displayed in the uneven lengths of the jacket on both sides. Just the same way, he played around with different new styles on the new record, colouring outside the lines and embracing a new version of himself.

Tracks and Features

Lyrically, Urie is in an introspective mood, yet the loud music can obscure just how melancholy he becomes. “Stare at a wall that’s told a thousand tragedies/ Holding a hand that’s loved every part of me,” he muses on the Janis Ian-interpolating “Don’t Let the Light Go Out,” which mushrooms into a chorus where Urie is in full wail.

On “Local God,” which explodes its tense opening chords into a brilliant stacked-harmony chorus, there are references to his fast rise to fame over two decades ago, while on the boogie-filled verses of “Star Spangled Banger,” Urie channels Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, taking a trip down memory lane to his law-breaking teen years.

When Urie fully embraces the movie-musical mode, as on the breakup-inspiring “Something About Maggie” and the mini-epic “God Killed Rock And Roll,” which uses Argent’s 1973 power ballad “God Gave Rock and Roll To You” as a springboard into a joyous demolishing of rock and roll mythos, Viva Las Vengeance is at its most satisfying.

In contrast, Urie fully captures the essence of Queen in “Sad Clown,” complete with operatic backing choirs serving as his all-seeing narrators. It’s a risky move, and its audacity is the reason it succeeds as much as it does. Sharing the same melancholic vibe, “All By Yourself” deals with isolation and derision, but there’s an optimism that comes from knowing where Urie is now.

Stand-out track “Something’s About Maggie,” is also a total stunner in its musical-esque charm with an irresistibly quirky jazz-hands energy. The cries of “Maggie! Don’t ya know!” are simple, but a total earworm that will have you giddily singing along after just one listen. More than can be said for most of the songs on the album.

Tracklist

 

NO

TITLE

TIME

1 Viva Las Vengeance 3:27
2 Middle Of A Breakup 3:20
3 Don’t Let The Light Go Out 3:49
4 Local God 3:00
5 Star Spangled Banger 3:09
6 God Killed Rock And Roll 4:17
7 Say It Louder 3:30
8 Sugar Soaker 3:11
9 Something About Maggie 3:20
10 Sad Clown 3:46
11 All by Yourself 4:18
12 Do It To Death 4:35

Album Theme

“Viva Las Vengeance” serves as the final transitional phase, abandoning Panic!’s original quirky surrealism and focusing entirely on the rock ‘n’ roll of Urie’s one-man show. The new record is musical, a gushing waterfall of styles butting up against each other.

Production Credits

Producers that pulled their weights behind the album’s production include Brendon Urie, Butch Walker, Jake Sinclair & Mike Viola.

Stream

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