Holley Petrie Reviews Panic! At The Disco’s New Album: Viva Las Vengeance
Panic! At The Disco’s seventh studio album Viva Las Vengeance conveys a new but timeless sound to 2022. From the band that gave us smash hits such as “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, to “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” from Vices & Virtues – and who could forget “High Hopes” off the 2018 album, Pray for the Wicked. This newest album is a symphony, pulling inspiration from some of frontman Brendon Urie’s favorite artists, such as Queen, The Beatles, Killer Queen, and other 60’s to 90’s rock legends. Fans may also say this sounds like a cathartic musical with songs that highlight critical points of the band’s history. Urie has previously mentioned while on Broadway’s Kinky Boots that he would entertain the idea of making the band’s history into a play. Maybe this is that moment!
However, there needs to be supporting actors to create such a story. Panic! At The Disco recruited some star producers and singer-songwriters for this project, including the likes of Jake Sinclair, Mike Viola, and Butch Walker, and recorded his album on an eight-track tape machine, which gives it a cool edge.
Viva Las Vengeance, from my perspective, is a great album; however, it is not my favorite from Panic’s wide-ranging thematic catalog. Instead, it is a great-sounding throwback to some of his earlier works like Pretty. Odd, which was not my cup of tea. Nonetheless, my top five songs from the album are “Viva Las Vengeance,” “Don’t Let The Light Go Out,” “Say It Louder,” “Do It To The Death” and “Middle of A Breakup.” I feel the collection of these five songs has a good beat, flow, story arc, and are an all-around fun time.
The most emotional song of the album would have to be “Don’t Let The Light Go Out.” The song’s story highlights a loved one watching their significant other in a hospital bed fighting for their life and saying they wouldn’t want to go on without them- That pulls on the heartstrings for me in such a personal way.
I bet you’re wondering which song is my least favorite, and that is “Something About Maggie.” I feel it is a bit too dark for the album… I think Brendon Urie is portraying the song from a thriller standpoint, and the song could be triggering to some fans (even though there is a song on the album called “God Killed Rock and Roll,” in that case, this is a saying I feel that has been around for a while). Also, Panic! At The Disco is not a stranger to using religion in their songs, like “This is Gospel” from Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die, which is one of my favorite songs off that album (I also love the Queen vibes on this song).
A few notes on some of the other songs I haven’t touched yet: “Sad Clown” has a great bop to it- the music video was also released the same time as the album, which gives me the mood of a crazy victorian psychedelic trip, but landed at my tenth spot in the ranking. Other songs like “All by Yourself” gives me Celine Dion vibes, but heartwarming. “Sugar Soaker” is the spicy single, no doubt, and “Star Spangled Banger” is a new Panic! anthem, replacing the famous prior anthem of “Hallelujah” from Panic!’s 2016 album Death of a Bachelor. Finally, we have “Local God,” which was hard to rank, but earns my sixth spot because it’s an excellent song with a great chorus, but is something missing that “Middle of A Breakup” has.
Overall, I think Panic! At The Disco should be proud of what he has accomplished, and I think over time this album will grow on many people. If you listen to his prior album, it’s a dramatic switch from this one, and I felt this shakeup coming. If you are like me and followed Brendon Urie on Twitch back in 2019/2020, he hinted a few times that he would return to his classic rock roots. I am proud of him for taking this leap after hitting such a sweet spot with Pray for the Wicked. For now, I will continue to stream and wait until the tour starts and see his songs come to life before my eyes!
Holley Petrie’s Ranking of Viva Las Vengeance:
- Viva Las Vengeance
- Don’t Let The Light Go Out
- Say It Louder
- Do It To The Death
- Middle Of A Breakup
- Local God
- Star Spangled Banger
- Sugar Soaker
- All by Yourself
- Sad Clown
- God Killed Rock and Roll
- Something about Maggie