I know that the title of this piece sounds like I’m about to make sweet love to the Panic! at the Disco artist. I’m well aware of that. And while he’s a man I can see why people go gaga over, that’s not why we’re here. So there won’t be any shirtless Brendon pics. Put your tongues away, folks. Instead, we’ll keep it strictly musical and give a bit of praise to the multifaceted artist.
I saw video from one of his tour stops in DC (I would’ve gone, but there was a whole kerfuffle about tickets) and I was blown away. I knew he did the damn thing. I’d seen him perform before. But watching the video, the man sang, danced, played the piano, played the drums, played guitar–and still had the time and wherewithal to still belt out “I chimed in with a ‘haven’t you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door.'” It was like watching someone channel Prince with a bit of Freddie Mercury in some ways. Frantic but still smooth and a thing of beauty.
I first came into understanding how dope he was in high school. Like many Black late 20s, early 30-somethings I know, I got more into rock in my tweens and teens. After binging the greats (Hendrix, Nirvana, Zeppelin, The Dead, etc.), I found myself in my late teens, dealing with Ms. Pink Jacket foolishness, and my first attempts at working through bipolar (among other things). So groups like Panic! spoke to me. Dark and witty, the group’s debut album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out was one I gravitated towards.
Was it perfect? At times. At others, it’s a sign of the times (such as its long and overcomplicated song titles, Chuck Palahniuk references or not). But the seeds were there. I was intrigued. I had to see where the group–and its lead singer–would end up.
As the group splintered and went its separate ways, Urie and the group began experimenting with sounds and song structures (just like that genius from Minneapolis). Pretty. Odd. went completely the opposite direction of its catchy predecessor and has grown on me as time’s gone by. In fact, it’s this album that I’d bring up to say “okay, this man is special musically.” He and the members of Panic! did their best to break the mold on that one. By making a Beatles-esque album without completely apeing the legendary group, Pretty. Odd. raised some eyes and said “hey, we’re not just catchy song titles and “Time to Dance”–even though “Nine In The Afternoon” was a bop.
The evolution continued throughout the rest of the group’s discography, even as members left and went elsewhere. By the time we got to the Broadway-tinged Pray for the Wicked, we’d seen Brendon Urie essentially do it all besides collaborate with Beyonce–even though he has gone on record saying he worships Beyonce (there’s still time for a Panic!/Beyonce collaboration…right?!).
He’s talented as hell and humble about his talent, even when he celebrates his successes. From what I’ve gathered, the man loves his wife, champions mental health awareness, doesn’t confine himself to heteronormative ideals when they don’t fit him, seems pretty cool with Black and non-Black people of color (and not just in a “hey, I have Black friends” sort of way) and can sing his ass off. That’s a winner.
I’m tired of saying “XYZ deserves their flowers.” So, I’ll try this. While Brendon Urie said “fuck a silver lining,” he is a silver lining in a world of foolish people trying to get ahead. Find your silver lining in the music of today and enjoy them as much as you can.