Panic! at the Disco – Viva Las Vengeance (Album Review)

Panic! at the Disco – Viva Las Vengeance (Album Review)

Despite its not being a full band anymore, but instead under the moniker of Frontman Brendon Urie since 2015 (when he became its sole official member), Panic! at the Disco still continues to deliver vibeful and viable music.

That in mind, on August 19, 2022, Panic! At the Disco released Viva Las Vengeance, its seventh album, via Fueled by Ramen / DCD2 Records. The third album with Urie as the sole member, and first since 2018’s  Pray for the Wicked, Viva Los Vengeance comes with twelve new songs that run for just over forty-three minutes. Produced by Urie, along with Jake Sinclair, Mike Viola, and Butch Walker, it begins straightaway with its punchy title-track… a seeming nod to the Pop Punk sensibilities of The Ramones. Another sweet-sour angularity follows with “Middle of a Breakup.” Ensuing next is “Don’t Let the Light Go Out” – a proper heartrending, promenade-worthy Alt. Rock ballad. And then there is “Local God,” whose melody will likely cause the listener to go under the mirrorball and dance with himself.

Urie vocals, drums, guitar, harpsichord, piano, synthesizer) and the rest of the ensemble – Jake Sinclair (backing vocals, bass, guitar, organ, synthesizer), Mike Viola (backing vocals, guitar, harpsichord, organ, piano, synthesizer), Rachel White (backing vocals), and Butch Walker (backing vocals, guitar) – then takes the show to the stadium, with the big, anthemic sound of “Star Spangled Banner” and the ensuing Queen-reminiscent “God Killed Rock and Roll.” “Say It Louder” then plays next, oozing with sunny Reggae vibes, only to revert to the Rock bravado of “Sugar Soaker.” “Something about Maggie” is a change of pace and era, a throwback to the Sunshine Pop of the ’60s; whereas “Sad Clown” is theatrical and Vaudeville-stylized.

After a series of quirky tracks, Panic! At the Disco relaxes the mood and the rhythm with “All by Yourself.” Finally, Viva Las Vengeance wraps aptly with the engaging Progressive Pop of “Do It to Death,” and what a tower of a song to end the album with! Viva Las Vengeance indeed!

When it is all said and done, Panic! At the Disco remains at the forefront of Alternative Pop music. Viva Las Vengeance is definitely a testament to this because it is biting, provocative, melodic, and simple in narrative but complex in form. Even Morrissey might be proud of this… that is if the miserablist is in a good mood. All this said, Cryptic Rock gives Viva Las Vengeance 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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