Review: Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die

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Hannah Ash

Panic! At the Disco’s fourth studio album, “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die” may not bring the decadent, inexperienced sounds of “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” the Beatles-esque ballads of “Pretty. Odd.” or the polished sing-ability of “Vices and Virtues,” but the album still provides an overall enjoyable sound.

I will admit that the album’s first single, “Miss Jackson” did not excite me. The track sounds like the love child of “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” (my least favorite track from “Vices and Virtues”) and “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” It was the same type of song PATD releases for every album’s first single.

Panic-at-the-Disco-Too-Weird-to-Live-Too-Rate-to-Die-2013-1200x1200However, I was instantly drawn to the second single, “This is Gospel.” I will not deny that I sang along to the song in my car for weeks before the album dropped. There is little in this world quite as satisfying as belting, “If you love me let me gooooooo” with the windows down and wind in your hair.

“This is Gospel” and “Miss Jackson” start off the album, easing listeners into a much more synth-heavy, electronic sound than PATD albums usually supply. Unfortunately, such a sound only serves to emphasize the glaring limitations of lead singer Brendon Urie’s vocal range. In “Vegas Lights,” listeners can hear Urie’s voice crack as he struggles to reach for the higher notes. Urie’s voice also lacks the range to effectively hit lower notes and give the synth-heavy songs the sound they tease at. In a few songs, I craved the richness of Davey Havok’s vocals or the soul of Patrick Stump’s voice instead of Urie’s.

The final track of the album, “The End of All Things,” gives listeners a breather from the synth and electronic sound. The slow piano music is paired with still-electronically altered vocals, but somehow it works. I can almost imagine the tune being sung longingly by a melancholy robot. “The End of All Things” is one of the best tracks on the album, partially because the track is a good way to cleanse the musical palette after busy, layered songs like “Vegas Lights” and “Girls/Girls/Boys.”

While this album does not supply nearly as many good sing-a-long songs as “Vices and Virtues,” it is still a good album to drive to. It’s the kind of thing I would blare during summer nights with the windows rolled down but not something I would play in a car full of friends.

The best tracks in the album, “This is Gospel” and “The End of All Things” serve as refreshing bookends to a tracklist that manages to capture all of the gaudiness, allure and daze of those Vegas lights Urie keeps singing about.

6 out of 10