Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! is Panic! at the Disco’s fourth studio album and second since the band’s split in 2009. Their latest is an ode to their Las Vegas roots and sports a vintage, mostly ‘80s-inspired sound. Here’s a track by track breakdown before the CD releases this Tuesday.
1. THIS IS GOSPEL
Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! opens with their second and most recent single. “This is Gospel” begins with a heartbeat and a somber, slightly autotuned (sound quality autotuning that is, not vocal-perfecting) verse. That breaks into the emotional chorus with “If you love me let me go” back by strong instrumentation. With its themes of being trapped and the dangerous nature of words, this is one of the best songs on the album.
Stand out lyrics: “This is gospel for the fallen ones/Locked away in permanent slumber/Assembling their philosophies/From pieces of broken memories” and “This is gospel for the vagabonds/Ne’er do wells and insufferable bastards/Confessing their apostasies/Led away by imperfect impostors”
2. MISS JACKSON (featuring Lolo)
The first single off the album is a haunting, darkly ambiguous theme with a repetitive, catchy chorus. Guest vocalist Lolo’s part adds a creepy, music box-like quality to the already uneasy melody.
Stand out lyrics: “You’ve got ‘em wrapped around your finger watch ‘em fall down/There’s something beautiful and tragic in the fall out/Let me say it one more time”
3. VEGAS LIGHTS
This high energy track directly addresses the subject of the album—Las Vegas. A chorus of children counting kicks off the song and is woven into the lyrics.
Stand out lyrics: “The Vegas lights/Where villains spend the weekend/The deep end/We’re swimming with the sharks until we drown”
4. GIRL THAT YOU LOVE
Considering that the title seems to be on the lighter side, “Girl That You Love” rocks some vintage dissonance. Its ‘80s-inspired sound would be perfect in a movie.
Stand out lyrics: “Drop every pretense/Drown every sense you own/For the girl you love/Girl you loathe”
Sound-wise, the fifth song on the album harkens back to A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out-era Panic!, though the lyrics are decidedly simpler. While likening a negative relationship to an addiction hardly seems like the most original concept, it’s fun and energetic.
Stand out lyrics: “It’s better to burn/Than to fade away”
Holy synth work, Batman. Talk about inspired by the ’80s. About a lovesick boy who doesn’t want to be a girl’s heterosexual cover anymore, “G/G/B” is a solid track that imbues some LBGT support into the album (“Girls love girls and boys/And love is not a choice”). I can’t help but think of what a good young adult book this song would make.
Stand out lyrics: “If you change your mind, you know where to find me/Cause I don’t want to save your reputation”
7. CASUAL AFFAIR
This track starts with a cautionary recording about overly friendly strangers, leading to a unsettling, surprisingly simple song. Definitely a favorite of mine.
Stand out lyrics: “Take any moment, any time/A lover on the left/A sinner on the right”
8. FAR TOO YOUNG TO DIE
The synthesizer strikes again! I wasn’t a big fan of this one—the lyrics don’t seem to connect to one another and there’s too much going on in the background. Some heavier editing would be welcome.
Stand out lyrics: “Fixation or psychosis?/Devoted to neurosis now”
9. COLLAR FULL
“Collar Full” is the happiest song on the album. It describes a positive experience in a relationship, despite the wording in the below lyrics. I wish I knew where the title of this one came from.
Stand out lyrics: “’Cause there’s always time for second guesses, I don’t wanna know/If you’re gonna be the death of me, that’s how I want to go”
10. THE END OF ALL THINGS
This is the only slow song on the album. Normally I prefer my songs fast, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Panic! at the Disco’s slower tracks. Unfortunately, I found this one to be lacking. The lyrics are so sparse and the vocals are slightly auto-tuned—I think I would feel differently if the vocals were stripped down. However, the accompanying piano and strings are both very pretty.
Stand out lyrics: none
Overall, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! starts out strong, holds through the middle, and kind of drifts at the end. However, all of the pieces seem like they connect to create a whole, cohesive album heavy on the synth and ominous themes. The lyrics are decidedly less verbose than those of previous Panic! albums. Part of this can be attributed to the band’s split a few years ago, since principle lyricist Ryan Ross left the bad, though Vices & Virtues seemed to be a bit wordier than this latest installment. Even with some issues, it’s a solid listen.
Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! will be available everywhere October 8th!