Panic! At The Disco close the curtains after 19 years as a band, we look back fondly on their discography and their evolution throughout the years.
If you were around for the peak Tumblr days, then you would know that a black cloud has shrouded amongst us die-hard emos. Just as the Emo Holy Trinity has been restored back to its original balance, it has once again collapsed. This collapse always seems to happen when Fall Out Boy makes a move after a few years of silence… Coincidence? I think not, the boys have to make sure they are the top point of the trinity somehow, am I right?
You have already heard the news that Panic! At The Disco (well, really just Brendon Urie, let’s be real) have called it quits. They have been a staple act that was part of the alternative, rock, and emo scene for the past 20 years. This is a surreal feeling, as I remember that I had their hit single I Write Sins Not Tragedies on my MP3 player – which was more than likely downloaded by my older brother via LimeWire.
Brendon posted an official statement to the bands social media stating that he is finally closing this chapter in his life, as he starts to prepare for the new one which is becoming a parent with his wife Sarah. In this statement, he reminisces about the surreal feeling of becoming a band that made such an impact on fans across the world, as well as announcing that his European and UK headlining tour will be his last.
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As this chapter comes to a close, I think it would be the perfect time to look back at their extensive discography. With seven albums to their name, I think it is a perfect time to rank these bad boys. What are my qualifications for this? I honestly have none other than being what is considered an elder emo. Of course, these rankings are purely my own opinion, so without further ado here are all of Panic! At Disco’s albums ranked from favourite to least favourite.
1. A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005)
Panic! At The Disco really came in swinging onto the scene, especially with this being their debut album. It was also an album that was released by Pete Wentz’s own imprint label Decaydance, which is absolutely wild to think that Wentz backed these guys before they performed any of these songs live; he just had pure faith in their demos alone. It is an album that delivered numerous tracks that are staples in the emo scene, one of which being their hit track I Write Sins Not Tragedies. This track also won the ‘Video Of The Year Award’ at the annual MTV Music Awards in 2006. The whole album is no skips, all repeats to me, and yes I do miss the days of those sentence-long titles.
Best Track: Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off
2. Vices & Virtues (2011)
I am going to start this off by saying I am a massive fan of producer John Feldmann, so I am a bit biased toward this album taking second place. This album took place after we saw two original members Ross and Walker exit the band, which led to the subsequent change in the band’s sound and lyricism. Since Ross was the one writing a majority of the band’s material, this saw Urie stepping up to take the reigns lyrically. Despite the shift in writing, the album still popped off, especially with their single The Ballad Of Mona Lisa. In full disclosure, I thought I was the edgiest kid on the block with this track on my iPod. It is an album I remember fondly, one that kept me going during my early High School years, so I am really gripping onto nostalgia with this one.
Best Track: The Ballad Of Mona Lisa
3. Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die (2013)
This album is where we definitely saw a change in musical style, and all the original pop-punk and emo rules that confined them were thrown out the window. In all honestly, I loved the original name of the album Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, but alas we cannot always get what we want. This album saw them start to steer away from the cliche of hating their hometown of Las Vegas, and start to embrace it – which is definitely not very pop-punk of them. This album saw Urie start adding more personal experiences to the lyrics, and we started to see another side to the band. They took on themes of addiction and sexuality, which was very raw and refreshing to hear. Their track This Is Gospel had many of us in a chokehold, especially me, like I literally learned the entire song on the piano in a matter of days, so this album definitely has a small piece of my heart. That track will forever be ingrained into my memory.
Best Track: This Is Gospel
4. Pretty. Odd (2008)
Do not yell at me for putting this at number four okay, if I could make this album a tie with number three I would. This album honestly confused me at the start, as it was different from their first release, and the first track We’re So Starving definitely left an impression on me going into the album. Being a close-minded teen at the time, I certainly had my reservations about the psychedelic pop sound. However, over time I did really grow to love it, even the cringey and nonsensical lyrics of Nine In The Afternoon; I understand that the title came from an event during band practice, where they no longer knew what time it was, but still it hurts my brain to think of the idea of a nine in the afternoon.
Best Track: Northern Downpour
5. Death Of A Bachelor (2016)
This album marks Panic! At The Disco becoming Urie’s solo project. This is where we can definitely hear the shift sonically, and the project started to slowly become what we would call ‘Urie living out his theatre kid dream’. Honestly, the album does slap with its infectious melodies and Urie’s lyrical hooks, so you have to give credit where credit is due, especially the singles like Victorious and Emperor’s New Clothes. However, many critics would say, the lyrics in this album feel lackluster, and even one critic went on to say that the album is “hollow and shapeless”. Is it my favourite album of theirs? No, but is it their worst? No, as well. You will still find me popping off to Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time despite my mixed feelings about the sudden direction change.
Best Track: Hallelujah
6. Pray For The Wicked (2018)
This for me was the last album of theirs that I actually did not mind. Yes, I still have mixed feelings as we descend into Urie’s Broadway era, where he starred in Kinky Boots, which probably played a role in how the album turned out. Even though this album did well commercially, especially making a shocking debut on the ARIA Album Charts as number one, I started to slip off the bandwagon. Yes, the album had Urie’s flare for dramatics, with his unbridled sass and charisma, but it honestly fell short. I am not saying artists cannot evolve their sound, and that they have to stay on their genre-confining lanes, but I would have much rather this album go under Urie’s own name than be released under the band’s name.
Best Track: High Hopes
7. Viva Las Vengeance (2022)
By this album, I had made peace with the fact that the band was just a moniker for Brendon Urie. If you had played this album straight after their debut album, I would have thought they were two distinctively different artists. I am not going to slander Viva Las Vengeance because even though it is far from my cup of tea, I can objectively look at the album and say that despite everything he knows how to make catchy songs. Yes in my opinion it sounds like his inner theatre kid wet dream that he got to make a reality, but I will sound like a broken record if I say once again I would rathered him slap his own name on this album. However, despite it not being an album I have a burning desire to listen to again, it cultivated a lot of positive reviews from critics, being described as “A love letter to rock’s golden era”.
Best Track: Sad Clown
Now that the final chapter has closed for Panic! At The Disco, all I can say is what a wild ride it has been; with their lineup and genre changes, they will forever have an impact on emo culture, and of course, the alternative music scene as a whole. Urie’s dedication to breathing new life into the band over the years is admirable, but as most of us can admit, it should have come to an end a few years ago. Once again, these rankings are based on my own opinions as a fan (so can all the stans please not come at me), and we can forever be thankful for being alive in the same timeline as Panic! At The Disco.