All posts by Megan Kaliszewski

Panic! At the Disco delights with upcoming album

Panic! At the Disco’s anticipated album, “Death of a Bachelor,” is set to release January 15. Lead singer Brendon Urie began to release individual songs off of the record in April of 2015, and each one has provided a different sound that leaves one to wonder what the album will sound like as whole.

In 2013, Urie released “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!” which consisted of a blend of alternative, pop and heavily autotuned music. The songs “This is Gospel” and “Miss Jackson” indirectly set the precedent for the album to come in 2016 with their amazing sound and consistent popularity. Other songs, such as “Casual Affair” and “Girl That You Love,” left me hoping whatever was to come would not sound as heavily auto tuned and lazy.

When the first single, “Hallelujah,” was released on April 20, 2015, the sound was similar to that of the alternative ballads on the previous album, which made my fear of a stereotypical pop sound dwindle down. At the time of the release, Urie and the rest of the band acknowledged the song very little. In comparison to the other songs released later, “Hallelujah” barely received any promotion or advertisement, and I cannot understand why.

“Hallelujah” possesses some of my favorite lyrics off the album so far, such as “I’m sitting pretty in my brand new scars, and you’ll never know if you don’t ever try again, so let’s try,” and the beats behind the lyrics instantly makes me want to dance. Urie presents the meaningful words in a way that makes the ballad sound more like a party song than a song to which you would ponder life, which is why I love this song so much.

“Death of a Bachelor” was the second song Urie choose to debut on Sept. 1, 2015. Although the release was not official as it was broadcasted on Beats 1 Radio and then not available on iTunes, Urie encouraged the download of the song even after the audio tracks on YouTube were removed for copyright reasons.

While “Hallelujah” provides me with some of my favorite lyrics, “Death of a Bachelor” possesses my favorite sound. Urie has stated he is heavily influenced by Frank Sinatra and wrote the song as a tribute to him as 2015 was the year of Sinatra’s 100th birthday. The background music, as well as Urie’s voice, has a definite Sinatra-type sound, and because I am also a fan of Sinatra’s music, I fell in love with the song.

A music video for “Death of a Bachelor” was released on Dec. 24, 2015 and also possesses the same vintage feeling the song does as the microphone looks like something out of the 1950s along with Urie’s outfit. The video consists solely of Urie singing on stage to an empty crowd in completely black and white, and the simplicity of the music video allows the music to be completely on the lyrics and sound, which is how this song deserves to be presented.

The third single, “Victorious,” was released shortly after “Death of a Bachelor” on Sept. 29, 2015, and initially, I was not sure how I felt about this song. The opening seconds consist of what sounds like children singing the chorus and then immediately jumps into fast paced lyrics filled with weird metaphors, such as “I’m a killing spree in white with eyes like broken Christmas lights.”

“Victorious” possesses a sound more alike songs played on the radio currently of which I am not an overly big fan. Really appreciating and getting into this song took me an insanely long time, and I mainly use it as a song to pump myself up or dance to while I struggle to understand the point of the metaphors.

Next in line was the Oct. 21, 2015 release of “Emperor’s New Clothes,” which came accompanied by the album announcement of which everyone was waiting, along with a really cool music video. Since the album release date came along with the song, the ballad definitely received the most promotion out of all of the singles released so far and rightfully so.

In juxtaposition with “Hallelujah,” the music video for “Emperor’s New Clothes” focused heavily on the underworld as viewers watched Urie change from a human being to a demon throughout the short song. The effects in the video were well put together, and the beginning included an interesting continuation of the “This is Gospel” video released Aug. 11, 2013.

“Emperor’s New Clothes” is the shortest on the album at a run time of 2:38, and I wish it was way longer. The lyrics in this song are amazing, and Urie’s normal experiments with his vocal range are extremely evident and really make this song pop. With words like “If it feels good, tastes good, it must be mine” and “I’m taking back the crown. I’m all dressed up and naked. I see what is mine and take it,” I immediately fell for this song almost as hard as I fell for “Hallelujah” six months prior. 

The fifth song released was “LA Devotee” on Nov. 26, 2015, and is about the love someone feels about moving to Los Angeles. Although not accompanied by an actual music video, the song came with a visualette featuring the bright and intricate colors of various places in California.

Urie sings the lyrics just as rapidly as he does in “Victorious,” but the imagery and comparisons in “LA Devotee” are way easier to understand and appreciate. The song sounds like a mixture of their 2013 album along with various other songs from albums released in the early 2000s, which hold some of the best songs of Panic! At the Disco’s entire career.

My favorite part of the song is definitely the way the lyrics, “I wouldn’t change you. I wouldn’t ever try to make you leave,” sound all around. The background music changes to a pleasing deep trombone/tuba sound that immediately puts me in a better mood. In fact, the entire song is a mood-lifter and every time it appears on my Spotify or phone shuffle, I want to stop everything I am doing and just lose myself in the music.

“Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” was the sixth song released on Dec. 31, 2015 and is probably the song that sounds the most different compared to the others. Fast-paced lyrics seem to be the way Urie wants to present the words because yet again, I am left trying to figure out what the entire verse said in 45 seconds.

Unlike the others on the album, this song does not have a music video or a visualette to go along with it. This makes sense to me as I am not completely sure how you could design a video for this song, considering it holds the same type of message as “Victorious,” which already has a music video. I do like this song more than I liked “Victorious,” though as it holds more of a rock type sound I am not used to hearing from Panic! At the Disco.

Lyrics, “I’m not as think as you drunk I am,” define the song completely and have become the most popular set of words I have seen edited onto pictures or used in “memes” on social media the past week and a half. They also define the partying lifestyle Urie portrays himself living quite often along with bringing up past events he has broadcasted such as the “Drunk History of Fall Out Boy” video that debuted on YouTube in 2013.

Panic! At the Disco has managed to release six of the 11 songs on the new album coming out next week, leaving many to believe the album may debut a few days earlier than Jan. 15. The sound and subject of lyrics coming from Urie and the rest of the band is changing slowly but surely, and I am excited to see what is to come for the remaining five songs and any records to come.

Music Review: “Wiped Out!” by The Neighbourhood

Following their first album, “I Love You,” released in 2013, a California-based band, The Neighbourhood, debuted their sophomore album, “Wiped Out!” on Oct. 30 and has proven to long-time listeners, such as myself, they are willing to continue experimenting with different genres and sounds.

“I Love You” is a combination of the two EPs, “Thank You” and “I’m Sorry,” which were created in 2012 along with various songs not affiliated with either one of the EPs. Each individual song possessed an alternative, very soft rock sound while giving off an extremely relaxing feeling.

After that, the band completed two other projects. One being a three-song EP, “The Love Collection,” which stuck with the initial alternative sound along with introducing an unexplainable calmness in their music I have heard in other music from artists originating on the west coast.

The second project is a mixtape, “#000000 & #FFFFFF,” which possesses a completely different sound compared to their other work. Underground rappers from California are featured along with mainly hip-hop beats and various raps from lead singer Jesse Rutherford.

I can hear each individual style they have ever used in “Wiped Out!” along with the emphasis on beachy sounds and the introduction of upbeat music, which walks a fine line between the alternative and pop genres. On almost every track, you can hear waves crashing or seagulls squawking in the background. There are also longer guitar instrumentals from guitarists Zach Abels and Jeremy Freedman audible.

Personally, I believe the various challenges in musical style is what sets this album apart from the rest and why I enjoy it so much. Each track, from the acoustic sounds in “Baby Came Home 2 / Valentine” to the heavy bass in the intro of “Ferrari,” is organized almost perfectly as a song flows smoothly into the next one.

Lyrically, Rutherford has stayed the same in regards to writing lyrics all listeners can connect to at some level in their lives; however, he has also added depth in a few of their songs that really make me sit and think about the message he is trying to convey.

Rarely will I stumble across an album by a band I really like and enjoy every single song, but I find myself able to connect every track to something I am currently going through or have gone through at some point of my life.

From the lyrics, “We need to fly ourselves before someone else tells us how,” in the track “Prey” to “I don’t want to let you down, so promise you won’t let me drown,” in title track “Wiped Out!” I can find a piece of me hidden in the words, and I love that.

Overall, “Wiped Out!” still possesses the same relaxing and chill vibe I have heard and fell in love with throughout their career, but the new more quickly paced beats I really enjoy as well. Rutherford and the rest of the band have continued to prove they are able to experiment well with almost any type of music, and I cannot wait to hear what they will try next on their next album or project.

You can listen to the album here.

Twenty One Pilots: A Concert Experience

I filed into Value City Arena with thousands of teenagers on September 18 and prepared myself for the emotional journey ahead of me. The journey of which I speak being my first Twenty One Pilots concert.

All around me were a variety of people dressed in their Blurryface era t-shirts with clever signs or their necks and hands painted black to mimic the lead singer’s symbolic attire. The vibe of just entering the venue was enough to get anyone pumped up, let alone the fact the show we were all attending held an extra special place in our hearts.

Lead singer Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun are the duo making up Twenty One Pilots, and both of the men originate from Columbus and still reside there today. They have spent time playing to crowds consisting of ten people all the way to their largest venue, Value City Arena, where there were 14,000 people in attendance.

Although I failed to physically attend these smaller venues, the plethora of videos and articles I have read over time made me feel like I really did go to those shows. I felt as if I had watched them grow into the band they are today, and there was this weird sense of proudness I had and I believe all fans feel whenever their favorite group reaches a new milestone.

I knew the others around me were feeling the same way as I had read multiple posts on social media regarding this concert and how excited everyone was to see the boys play in the city they started from.

When I reached my seat, I sat back and just took it all in. I listened and felt all of the happiness radiating from the people above and next to me as we all waited for our favorite band to come onto the stage.

After the two opening bands, Finish Ticket and Echosmith, played through their setlists I watched the stage crew set up Twenty One Pilots’ stage and felt a nice combination of excitement and nervousness. My source of nerves came from how high my expectations were for this show after spending hours watching live videos and reading comments about the stage energy they create.

I can honestly say I was not disappointed, and my expectations were exceeded. From the moment Joseph and Dun ran on stage to their opening song “Heavy Dirty Soul,” I knew the articles I read and the videos I watched were accurate. Joseph performed as his usual self as he twitched his way across the stage, jumped off of equipment and fell intensely to the ground during high energy parts in his music.

Twenty One Pilots played almost every song I wanted to hear live minus some of the older songs I knew they would not end up performing but still hoped they would. The two men kept the crowd hyped from the general admission on the floor all the way up to sections in the three hundreds, which were home to the highest seats possible and where I was located. Even from way up there, we sang every lyric, jumped when he implied we do so, clapped and even participated in the intense beat drop in “Lane Boy.”

Out of all the songs I heard that night, I would say my top five would be “The Judge,” “Stressed Out,” the chorus of “Forest,” “Holding On To You,” and the beautiful cover of Elvis Presley’s song, “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

The music and messages behind the music Joseph writes have always held a special place in my heart. Hearing those songs I love live while surrounded by people who feel the same impact as I do was an experience I will gladly go back and relive.

Next time Twenty One Pilots finds themselves on another tour, I will be the first person to buy tickets whether the venue is in Columbus or Pittsburgh. I would highly recommend anyone who likes this band or who likes similar style music to make an effort to see them in concert because I guarantee they will not regret it.