Quintessential punk rockers Panic! At The Disco might have released their popular debut 10 years ago, but it still holds a firm place in the hearts of many former eyeliner aficionados. The time was 2005, a time where bangs were swept and eyes were over lined, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out was the go to for the many who were beginning the delve into their ‘emo’ phase. Equipped with punk riffs, pop inspired vocals, angst ridden lyrics and ridiculously long song titles the original 4, Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, Brent Wilson and Brendon Urie managed to score certified double platinum status on this record.
It’s an album that welcomes you perfectly, with the quirky static sound of a theatre sound system within Introduction, with it stating, “Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present, a picturesque score of passing fantasy” before launching into fast paced, big riffed The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage. With following tracks London Beckoned Songs About Money Written By Machines and Nails For Breakfast, Tacks For Snacks ringing true with a similar feel of electronic pop-rock and angst.
Although Panic! At The Disco was infamously known for their 2006 single I Write Sins Not Tragedies, the song that blasted the quartet into the mainstream charts and solidifying their successful future. It’s instantly recognizable by the mysteriously playful key chords before Urie slyly says, “Oh, Well Imagine” before blasting into the hook and chorus, with “what a shame the poor groom’s bride is a whore.” / “I chime in with a, haven’t you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?!” which is impossible not to chant along with. Runner up for successor single, the long titled and sensual, Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off which promotes a much more synthesized sound, but still with its lyrical hooks. As the beat comes to a head and Urie strains, “let’s get these teens hearts beating. Faster faster” / “So testosterone boys and harlequin girls, will you dance to this beat, and hold a lover close?”. And to lead out the teen dance, the track ends with static, before launching into frantic electronica to subtly lead into the next track, Intermission.
Stylistically A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out is a fairly musically diverse record, with two distinct themes being bridged by the Intermission. The first half employs a much more manufactured approach, with many electronic instruments creating the sound whereas the second uses more traditional organs and accordions. Kicking off the ‘cabaret’ after Intermission is the playful organ melody of But It’s Better If You Do, while Urie’s “praying for love in a lap dance and paying for naivety”. And of course final single from the A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out era, and album closer, Build God, Then We’ll Talk. Musically the bridge melody takes derive from the chorus of My Favourite Things, from The Sound Of Music while the lyrics are a direct satirize, continuing on with the musical theatre feel of the second half.
It’s an album that held a lot of power in the years of the mid noughties and still rings true today. While the original, cabaret styled and eyeliner wearing is no more, the memories instilled throughout the record is something to hold onto. Even if you weren’t a heavy listening during it’s prime, it would be hard to dispute just how much A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out Shaped Generation Y.