Music Review: “Emperor’s New Clothes” by Panic! at the Disco


[ot-caption title=”Panic! at the Disco performing in front of a live audience. (Will Fisher/ Flickr)”]

On October 21, 2015, American rock band Panic! at the Disco unveiled their latest single, “Emperor’s New Clothes.”  The band also announced the title of their fifth studio album, Death of a Bachelor, which is set to be released in January 2016 and is now available for pre-order.  Brendon Urie, the band’s lead vocalist and only remaining original member, stated that the album serves as a testament to the blissful and carefree memories of his childhood.

As its title may suggest, “Emperor’s New Clothes” marks a deviation from the style of the band’s previous work.  Following the release of their fourth studio album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! in 2012 and the departure of their drummer, Spencer Smith, earlier this year, there had been much speculation regarding Panic! at the Disco’s approach to their fifth album.  The band is well-known for experimenting with many genres.  Their work encompasses an incredible number of diverse styles, including the synthesizer-heavy theatrical pop of their first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out; the 1960’s-inspired classic rock of their second, Pretty. Odd.; and the Victorian-esque atmosphere of their third album, Vices & Virtues.

Along with the other singles to be featured in Death of a Bachelor, “Hallelujah” and “Victorious,” Panic! at the Disco’s most recent release includes extensive and complex instrumentation, with the presence of keyboards and brass instruments being a central element of the music.  “Emperor’s New Clothes” also uses synthesized effects without sounding overly artificial or contrived.  The band has been consistently praised for its thoughtfully written and beautifully rhyming lyrics, and “Emperor’s New Clothes” is no exception, focusing on the motifs of justice, victory, and power.  Fans and critics alike will be sure to respond with gusto to the release of Death of a Bachelor, as the singles released from the album have received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

“I’m taking back the crown,” proclaims Urie in the chorus of “Emperor’s New Clothes.”  With the release of Death of a Bachelor, Panic! at the Disco is doing just that.