Originally published on April 27, 2015 at georgetownradio.com
I think we all know somewhere and on some level that Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, and My Chemical Romance, and will always be eternal for us. They’re the bands we grew up with, the bands that saw us from childhood through the searching of adolescence, and now onto whatever you want to call this awkward phase between being a teenager and a full-fledged adult. And although the head-banging and lyric shouting have been plentiful, it’s been a long and bumpy road for punk rock fans. If you can believe it, it’s already been a little over two years since MCR’s breakup, but the silver lining was Fall Out Boy’s unexpected return from a four year hiatus the same year. And meanwhile, Panic! fans were still reveling in the genius of Pretty. Odd. in 2009 when half of the band – songwriter/guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker – departed to continue that vein of sound (that’s totally a pun, guys – they named their new band The Young Veins), leaving only vocalist Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith.
The band has continued through the release of two more studious albums – Vices & Virtues and Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! – and even promoted touring bassist Dallon Weekes to full-time band member status. In late 2013, after the first few set dates of The Gospel Tour, it was announced that Spencer Smith would be taking time off to go to rehab, but that the tour would continue. A year later, his activity in the group seemed to be indefinitely stagnant, and early this month it was announced that Smith would be leaving the band after a ten year stint. Fans questioned what would become of Panic! now that Brendon Urie is the only remaining original member of the band (which is once again a twosome), and if Urie would opt to go solo, but that wait and wondering are over.
Last night, Panic! released single “Hallelujah” with the following message:
“Hello my fellow sinners,
First off, thank you. Thank you for always being there. For speaking your mind. For following what you believe. For allowing me to grow. For granting me the opportunity to live my dream. Words simply can’t express my full appreciation and gratitude for you.
As I begin what feels like a new chapter of my life, I’m filled with immense excitement and a fresh sense of hope. I’ve seen this band through every phase, every change, every hardship. And yet my appreciation and love grows with every breath.
So I lift my arms in praise of your greatness. YOU are great. YOU are beautiful. YOU are talented, and smart, and kind, and loving, and generous, and simply amazing.
And you make me want to scream “HALLELUJAH!” from the top of my lungs with every bit of fervor and strength I possess. And I invite you to join me as you have over and over again.
So Hallelujah, my fellow sinners. Hallelujah.
The song is brassy, upbeat, and hopeful. Urie’s voice is raw, and the message seems to be one of self-forgiveness, even an ode to the fans (“all you sinners,” anybody?). Although no official word has been given about a fifth album, I think we can all rest assured that making music is what Panic! does best, and that they’ll be sticking around for a little while longer.