The other day, my boss’s boyfriend, who might have attended high school with the band, made the rather curious suggestion that I review the new Panic! at the Disco album, Vices and Virtues. I said I’d do it if he gave me a legitimate copy.
Really, I was hoping he didn’t own it and I could make my escape before he could download it from I-Tunes and burn me a copy. No such luck. I left with Vices and Virtues, determined to be open-minded as I listened to it. After one trip through it, I realized that I cannot tell the difference between Panic! at the Disco and all the other emo bands I don’t like.
Can anyone? I’m big enough to admit that I have listened to just one Plain White T’s album. If you were sadistic enough (and maybe you are) to force me to listen to it immediately after playing me Vices and Virtues, I could easily believe that I was listening to a band called Plain White Panic. They would still be emo though, and they’d still be awful. I’m sure some of the teenagers out there can tell all these bands apart, but I don’t have energy or interest in doing it myself. I’ve spent my morning listening to Virtues and Vices and – this shouldn’t surprise most of you – it’s yet to make any kind of impression on me.
For one thing, I feel like the album is overproduced to the point of unctuousness. I thought the point of emo was to try to show the complexity of human feeling. Doesn’t all the pristine production kinda undermine that effort? I guess you could argue that beauty is in the ear of the beholder, but I think an overly polished sound negates the visceral impact of the music. These My Chemical Disco guys seem like they’re afraid to get their suits dirty.
By now, I bet I have given Virtues and Vices more than a dozen listens and it’s so sterile that it’s hardly worthy of my opprobrium. Sure, it’s bad, but I got it for free. I’m mostly left wondering who this music is for. Who likes their music this sterile? I can’t even get that angry about this shit.