Panic! At the Disco has been evolving steadily over the past 13 years since A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. It has undergone so many personnel changes that now the only remaining member is Brendon Urie. However, this has not caused a decrease in the quality of their music. “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” and “(Fuck A) Silver Lining” is a great representation of Urie’s creative and musical potential.
First, watch this gruesome yet hilarious music video.
“Say Amen (Saturday Night)” is slick, cool, and it builds a great amount tension in the verse. It’s low, quiet, intimate, and then it explodes. You can’t help but jam out to the chorus; Urie wants you to party with him. Although this is a common formula for Panic! At the Disco songs, now there is an R&B twist. The utilization of a drum machine, prominent baseline, and horns are why I say this; however, the distorted guitar keeps it in the rock genre. Also, the last high note at the end really shows off Urie’s vocal chops. His range is breathtaking, and he seems to be exploring it more and more in his recent albums.
This song, like “Hallelujah,” mentions going against the church and religious guidelines. Urie grew up as a Mormon, but he left the Church of the Latter-Day Saints about a decade ago. He says, “Swear to god, I ain’t ever gonna repent.” No one is going to make him feel guilty for his lifestyle choices. Even the title of the new album, Pray for the Wicked, references this idea. Even though Urie left his religion when he was quite young, the feeling of isolation is not something that typically leaves a person. This song seems to display his confidence and excitement about the direction his life has been taking.
“(Fuck A) Silver Lining” goes even deeper into the R&B sphere in such a skillful way. It’s big, bright, and ultra-catchy. It doesn’t lose the Panic! Vibe, but it still incorporates elements of modern funk and soul, especially the little vocalizations he tosses all over the song. This is something that they have not done this well before. The beginning is so reminiscent of a 70s soul track, and then we are thrown into an aural dance party. Urie seems to indirectly reference Destiny Child’s song “Say My Name,” and directly mentions Beyoncé and her album Lemonade, which gives this song even more cool points.
These songs are the fresh, 2018 take on what Panic! At the Disco is becoming. The Panic! identity is multi-faceted, and it continues to evolve. Urie went from “I know secrets at this party that no one else knows” to “I am the party.” The lyrical artistry matched with the vocal gymnastics and keen arrangements really speak to how much Urie has developed as a musician. He has blossomed into a singer-songwriter of sorts and is truly exploring the extents and depths of the alternative genre, and he sounds so confident with it. He is not afraid to experiment with other styles and mix them into his material, and he is pushing the limits of the definition of rock. “Pray for the Wicked” is out June 22nd.