January might seem a little early for me to already know what is going to be my Album of the Year, but unless The Maine, You Me At Six, and All Time Low form a supergroup (You Maine Time, is what I'm calling them) and release the Best Album Ever, I'm going to call it now: Panic! at the Disco's Death of a Bachelor is going to be my album of the year.
Is it because I'm a Panic! fangirl? Maybe.
Is it because I've loved Brendon Urie for nearly ten years and would listen to him sing the alphabet song because his voice is perfection? Probably.
Or is it because it's a masterpiece of an album, made even more brilliant by the fact that the majority of it was written and recorded by a single person, including all drums, guitar, and bass? OH HECK YES.
This album is a combination of all the things I've ever loved about Panic!: clever lyrics, danceable beats, and a certain joy that seems to come from someone who's genuinely pleased with the results of a creative endeavour. I've been listening to it pretty much nonstop since it came out on the 15th (I even made a special trip to the mall to buy it after not leaving my house for a week!), and each time, I seem to focus on something different, whether it's the soul-searing bass line in title track "Death of a Bachelor" or the way the beginning of "LA Devotee" is reminiscent of a previous Panic! song, "Let's Kill Tonight". The album is, for the most part, cohesive, with the two ballads - the aforementioned "Death of a Bachelor" and album closer "Impossible Year" - still somehow fitting in, despite the dreamier tempos.
Above all, though, I'm absolutely obsessed with "Crazy=Genius". I read a review that likened it to Panic!'s longest titled song, "There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought of It Yet"...aka the song that turned me into a Panic! fan. It's a jazzy little number that also makes me think of The Jungle Book's King Louie (or, rather, Fall Out Boy's cover of King Louie's jam, "I Wan'na Be Like You"), and I can't sit still when it comes on.
Panic! is a unique band in that none of their albums are quite the same. It's hard to put them in any one genre, and you sort of expect the unexpected when they announce a new release: it's going to be completely different from whatever you've heard before, but it's still going to make perfect sense. I'm guessing after such a great reception, Brendon's feeling pretty...victorious.