Panic! At The Disco has released the visuals to “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, a single off of their new album, Death of a Bachelor, which is slated for a January 2016 release.
If the title of the song or album is any implication, this is a study in rebirth and metamorphosis. Brendan Urie has returned Panic! to the dark, theatrical, vaudeville style that stole our hearts with 2005s A Fever We Can’t Sweat Out, but with a more mature feel. The single uses the bubbly synths that are similar to what you’d hear on Fever but manages to keep them menacing.
The track itself starts out like something from Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas, but recovers itself into a yowling chorus that claws at your chest. Currently the only remaining, original member, Urie still has the performance chops, energy and love of makeup that caught our attention years ago.
The music video starts out with the clean-cut, shirt-and-tie Urie from the “This is The Gospel” video, breaking out, and falling down a rabbit hole into what seems to be Hell. As the video progresses, Urie cracks, spazzes, grins, and mutates into a horned Lucifer. The video goes on with choppy, flashing shots of a demonic Urie serenading us.
One of the most beloved things about Urie is his ability as a lyricist. Some of Panic’s best songs and titles were inspired by everything from novels, to movies, to life. He has always had a talent for word play. The lyrics of this track sound like a reference to him overcoming his professional, personal, and artistic hardships. The line “Dynasty decapitated” seems to reference the separation of the group and himself, leaving only the singing head.
The blasphemous nature of the video, and various religious themes seen in the singles so far, suggests a rebellion of his Mormon upbringing. It also implies that he is embracing a darker, more animalistic side of his artistry to reclaim the notoriety he achieved 10-years-ago. The past two singles seem to be patching together the story of him being reborn into something new and raw. The album feels like a continuation of the “There’s something beautiful and tragic in the fallout” sentiment he presented in the 2013 album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! It’s been a long time coming, and this video in particular seems to say, “I’m back to take what’s mine”.
We still have a little bit of time until the album is officially released, so until then, this remains speculation. In the meantime, take a look at the video for “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and let us know what you think is in store for the future of Panic!