Panic! At The Disco’s Pray For The Wicked: Track-by-track review

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Full of songs that sound like callbacks to previous albums, Panic! At The Disco’s Pray For The Wicked has some absolutely killer music.

The story of Panic! At The Disco could probably span an article all by itself. At this point, the band is basically just Brendon Urie and people who tour with him.

But the name’s still there, and oh, does Panic! still have its sound — glitz and glamour even as there’s something a little off about the world of the music. Pray For The Wicked is such a tight and well-put-together album that even the weaker songs are still pretty good.

It’s hard not to love this, so let’s go through each track.

“(F**k a) Silver Lining”

Did you think there weren’t going to be swear words on this album?

Because this song is basically designed to remind you of just which band you’re listening to — from the jazz-like accompaniment that’ll come back later down to the song allowing Urie to sing the f-bomb … a lot. You could probably count, but that’s not the point here. (Bonus points for actually including a censor beep after the bridge.)

“It’s just cherries on top,” Urie sings, but then asks “When you gonna say my name?” in the bridge.

So, you know …

Well, it’s in the title.

“Say Amen (Saturday Night)”

Granted, “F**k a Silver Lining” is perhaps the bigger song in terms of sound, since it’s constantly going, but “Say Amen” opens not only with Brendon Urie saying “cold open,” he also drops the album title in each chorus.

Admittedly, this song also sounds like it could have come off of Death of a Bachelor, Panic!’s fifth album, with the dark themes — both in terms of how the singer says he’ll “pray for the wicked on the weekend” and how, as fans have noted, the music video ties back to “Emperor’s New Clothes.”

“Hey Look Ma, I Made It”

Panic! at the Disco is capable of an actually mostly cheerful song in terms of lyrical content and even the melody. Granted, Urie still calls his record label a “pimp” and mentions “the garden of evil,” but hey, it’s not like he’s particularly wrong if you look at how the music industry works in general.

There’s also a sense of wonder about this song — even as there are confident lyrics about “the sequel” — as if Urie is very cognizant of how wild it is that he’s still making albums 13 years later, with a dedicated fanbase.

“High Hopes”

One of the songs pre-released, “High Hopes” pairs exceptionally well with “Hey Look Ma, I Made It,” not just in terms of how it also nods to the singer’s mother, but in terms of how there’s an undercurrent of sadness even as there’s mentions of “high hopes” and “shooting for the stars.”

“Roaring 20s”

“Roaring 20s” is the more mature version of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out: big, theatrical (down to the showstopping, slowed-down chorus that appears after the bridge), a singer who’s out in public but still feels uncomfortable there somehow, and even complete with literary references. In this case, it’s Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart as well as Lord of the Flies that get a shout-out.

Also, how on earth has no one ever come up with “roll me like a blunt, ’cause I wanna go home” before this?

One could almost view this as the dark side of “Hey Look” and “High Hopes,” the slimy underbelly of what it’s like to rise so high but still be so unsure of yourself.

“Dancing’s Not a Crime”

“Dancing’s Not a Crime” isn’t the first time Urie breaks out his falsetto on this album, but the song benefits a lot from the use of it. The song takes a lot of nods from classic pop in particular — the Michael Jackson reference in the first line is not misplaced at at all.

It’s ultimately the most positive-sounding song on the album because of those nods and the falsetto as well as the chorus and bridge (though the verses make it clear there is some darkness here). That doesn’t make it a bad song, but depending on how you like your Panic!, you might find this a little weaker than other tracks just because it doesn’t have quite the same interplay.