Photo by: Charlie Martin
On Jan. 24, Panic! At The Disco or rather sole remaining member Brendon Urie, announced plans to disband after completing their upcoming European tour.
In Urie’s statement, he revealed the reason behind disbanding Panic! At The Disco was his new focus on family life, as he and his wife are expecting a child this year: “I am going to bring this chapter of my life to an end and put my focus and energy on my family, and with that, Panic! At The Disco will be no more,” said Urie.
Although disbandment announcements tend to be saddening for music fans, in the case of Panic! At The Disco, it provides relief.
The decline in their music quality as a result of all original band members leaving the project, combined with Urie’s racist comments and allegations of sexual misconduct throughout the years, all point to one thing: Brendon Urie should have left the legacy of Panic! At The Disco untouched well over eight years ago.
For those who are not familiar with the band or who haven’t kept up with them since the early 2000s, it has been years since Panic! At The Disco has been anything but Brendon Urie’s glorified solo project—which explains why Urie single-handedly wrote the disbandment announcement.
The initial band line-up for Panic! At The Disco, formed in 2004, consisted of Brendon Urie for vocals and guitar, Ryan Ross on lead guitar and lyrics, Spencer Smith playing drums and Brent Wilson for bass guitar. Wilson left as early as 2006, followed by Ross stepping away in 2009, and then Smith leaving in 2015. Other members, such as Dallon Weekes, who were added to the line-up following the departure of original members, also eventually left the project, leaving Brendon with full artistic control over the future of Panic! At The Disco since 2015.
From 2004 to 2015, Panic! At The Disco managed to always bring something new to the table in terms of alternative sound and lyrical themes, which in return ensured that the general public held their music with esteem and eagerness for more. For instance, the transition from their edgy emo-dance debut album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005), to their folk, Beach Boys-influenced sophomore record Pretty. Odd. (2008) proved to fans early on in their career that their sound and themes would be bound to change, but not in a way that compromised quality.
Notably, Urie probably wishes the same could be said regarding the works he has had full creative liberty for following Smith’s departure in 2015.
Admittedly, not everything produced during the “solo” era of Panic! At The Disco has been terrible. Still, the decline in the band’s uniqueness and lyricism has increased as the years have gone by. Originally, the release of Death of a Bachelor (2016) painted a promising picture for the music quality Urie would maintain for the band, but those expectations quickly vanished following the release of Pray for the Wicked (2018), and even more so with the release of Viva Las Vengeance (2022).
As illustrated by Sheroog Kubur from The Gauntlet in their critique of Viva Las Vengeance (2022), “As a solo project, Viva Las Vengeance would have been more passable, but by using the Panic! At the Disco name, a precedent was set. One that expects grandeur and personality. Unfortunately, this album only shows that the death of the bachelor was also the death of Panic! At the Disco — or at least the version that fans fell in love with.”
To make matters more complicated, Urie has tarnished the way people perceive Panic! At the Disco — as if the public needed any more reasons to disengage from new releases.
In recent years Urie has faced sexual assault allegations, has been caught saying the N-word while singing and has had videos of him from past concerts resurface. In one resurfaced video, Urie is recorded threatening to sexually abuse people in the audience after the show.
Urie having the gumption to use the band’s title for as long as he has to put out mediocre solo music has deteriorated the band’s discography and image, and unfortunately, the disbandment announcement is unlikely to fix Panic! At The Disco’s legacy.