Panic! At The Disco's sixth full-length studio album, Pray For The Wicked, has arrived. What started out as a cryptic marketing campaign, sending out items like "Pray For The Wicked Unholy Water" to fans via the the mail, has evolved into the release of an entire eleven-song record.
Pray For The Wicked follows Panic! At The Disco's 2016 LP Death Of A Bachelor. The band released PFTW's lead single "Say Amen (Saturday Night)" back in March, followed by songs like "High Hopes," "(F*** A) Silver Lining." And the album's title comes from a lyric in in its first single, as Brendon Urie explains:
"Pray For the Wicked is a lyric from the song 'Say Amen (Saturday Night),' and the chorus starts with, 'I pray for the wicked on the weekend. Mama, can I get another amen?' There's a lot of shout outs to my mom (What's up, mom?). And, I wanted to let her know, it doesn't matter if I'm a part of this religion or that religion, I still pray for the things I want to see change in the world, and the love that I feel. That was really, just kind of a love letter to my mom as well."
Speaking of "Say Amen," the song was inspired by growing up in the Mormon faith, and that even though Brendon doesn't consider himself to be very religious now, he still prays and worships in his own way. He explains, "I wanted to write something that touched on how I grew up. My tradition was I grew up in the Mormon faith, so even though I'm not religious now, I still pray, and I still feel spirituality. So, I wanted to portray that in a way that wasn't necessarily a dig at anybody. But, that was just my way of saying, 'Hey, I still can worship and praise.'"
Panic! At The Disco has released five other albums before Pray For The Wicked, and Brendon describes this new record as "totally different than anything [he's] done before." He explains that the songs that were written for this album are unlike anything he thought he would ever write. He tells us:
"For me, sonically, it's completely different. There are songs that I've never thought that I would ever write. There's a song called 'Dancing's Not a Crime' that the first time I remember putting a melody to that song, I was impressed with it. I was like, 'I never thought that I would write something like this.' And I think that the tradition now is, I don't write necessarily for myself. I don't write thinking, 'This is gonna be for the album. This is for Panic.' I just write songs and wherever it ends up that's great. And that's kinda how that one ended up. So, Pray For the Wicked is, is all over the place. There's a song for every mood."
PFTW is also the most fun Urie has ever had making an album. After starring in Kinky Boots on Broadway in New York City, he went home to focus on the new album. He explains, "I had done a stint at Kinky Boots on Broadway, which was so much fun, and I wanted to come home and just never leave my house. So I told my friend Jake Sinclair, I said, 'Can you come over to my house and my studio, we'll just work in my house.' And, he was totally willing to do that. So it was great. I just had my friends over every day and we just wrote songs at our leisure. And it was great. It was the most fun I've ever had."
Brendon is currently out on Panic! At The Disco's "Pray For The Wicked Tour," which makes stops in many major cities across the US throughout the summer. Aside from their summer tour, you can also catch Panic! At The Disco at this year's iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena, alongside a lineup of superstar artists this fall. But although playing larger venues is a rush for Urie, he says that there is nothing like playing to a small room. Right when "Say Amen (Saturday Night)" was released, Panic! At The Disco put on an intimate, surprise show in Cleveland, Ohio at the city's Grog Shop for about 400 fans. Brendon tells us:
"An arena's great because I love to put on a show, have a full production, let people see exactly what we're capable of and the fun eye candy and stuff. But, there's something you don't get with that when when you're in a sacred intimate room. There's no barricade. People are on the stage. You're face-to-face. You can, like, whisper to each other in between songs. That's something that a lot of people, I think, don't get to experience at a certain level and I always want to go back. I just want to go back and do that all the time because it's unlike anything else."
Urie also explains how his fans inspire him. He says, "The support that I get from the fans, it's inspiring. I get to see things they'll tweet me. They'll tweet me art they've drawn or videos they've made, lip sync battles they've done with each other. It's inspiring for me because I feel like I'm so boring all the time. I get to tour and do all this other awesome stuff, but when I'm home it's ... I play Fortnight and I just like, you know, whatever. So I feel like it's a little boring. I get inspired by getting other people's stuff sent to me. And they're like, 'Hey, you inspire me doing this,' and then that's just reciprocated. That's unlike anything else too."
Photos: Katherine Tyler