A little over a week ago, baroque rock project Panic! at the Disco announced that they would be dropping a new album, entitled “Death Of A Bachelor,” on January 15, 2016. Along with the announcement came a delightfully sinister music video for the single “Emperor’s New Clothes,” giving fans a glimpse of things to come.
The video is a continuation of the narrative set in motion in the band’s 2013 single “This Is Gospel.” Viewers see impish frontman Brendon Urie, the only remaining original member of the group, die and fall like a tarnished angel into a whimsically theatrical underworld of singing skeletons and dirt. Over the course of the song he slowly morphs into a horned, granite-skinned, yellow-eyed demon, singing about “sycophants on velvet sofas” through charming sharp-toothed smirks.
Devious and Vaudevillian, the song itself is reminiscent of those on Panic!’s debut album from way back in 2005, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out.” This isn’t a coincidence – according to a post by Urie on Panic! at the Disco’s Facebook page, the new album is meant to be a return to the frontman’s roots.
“‘Death Of A Bachelor’ is in honor of those times I spent alone as a kid,” said Urie. “Allowing music to consume me. Playing everything myself just to get the idea right and out of my head. It’s a beginning to a new era. And an homage to how it all began.”
He doesn’t disappoint. Though over the years Panic!’s members have left the group to work on projects of their own, Urie has proven that the loss of his accompaniment has done nothing to slow him down. In fact, it seems the multi talented musician has taken this as an opportunity to make Panic! into his own twisted musical theatre playground, and it works jaw-droppingly well. His mischievous lyrical delivery and cleverly arranged, carnival-esque instrumentals are endearing, beckoning listeners in with a curling, eerily long finger.
Overall, “Emperor’s New Clothes” is catchy, playful, and tinged with mania. It’s fresh enough to attract new Panic! fans and enough of a throwback to recapture the old. And let’s be honest – if perdition is Brendon Urie skulking around in a leather loincloth, I know quite a few people who would up their sin quota.
“Death Of A Bachelor” is now available for preorder on iTunes.