Friday, July 11, 2008

Panic at the Disco - Pretty. Odd.

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The following is a real excerpt of a discussion which transpired on the Dean Koontz Institute for Asemic Writing's Writer's Block Support Line. Names have been changed...kind of.

Support Technician: Dean Koontz Institute's Writer's Block Support, Toni Morrison speaking, how may I help you?

"Pandy" "Missner": Hi, yeah, uh...I've got the block. I've got it bad.

ST: Can you be more specific, sir? What is it exactly that you're trying to write?

PM: Well, I'm trying to write a review of Panic! At The Disco's new record, Pretty. Odd., and I seem t--

ST: New? Didn't that album come out in, like, March? What the hell are you doing reviewing it now?

PM: Uh, I--

ST: And by the way, that's Panic at the Disco now, they dropped the exclamation mark awhile back.

PM: Wait, how did you know I added an exclamation mark? We're on the phone!

ST: Willful suspension of disbelief, sir.

PM: Okay...

ST: So, why don't you read me what you have so far?

PM: Not much at all: "A disappointing follow-up to what was a very interesting, albeit repetitive debut."

ST: That's a start. Well, more of an end, really; I think that would make a great conclusion. In the interim, you could mention the fact that while Panic will always be looked down upon as "sell outs" in some circles, Pretty. Odd. demonstrates a move in the opposite direction, with the --

PM: --the longer, more ambitious songs, and less easily identifiable hooks. Precisely! For example, Do You Know What I'm Seeing? is catchy to an extent, but - and I never thought I'd ever use the words "subtle" and "Panic at the Disco" in the same sentence - it might be too sublte for its own good. This is pop music I'm listening to: I want catchy, I want infectious, I want hooks, God damn it!

ST: It sounds like you have plenty to say, I don't think you need my assistance...

PM: But I do. I do!

ST: Clingy doesn't suit you well, so I'd suggest you stop. Why don't you put on that air of feigned indifference that you indie snobs are so practiced at?

PM: Hey! I take offense at that. I think somebody can enjoy independent music but still have an open mind for the more popular varieties as well. Why do you think that I listen to Panic in the first place? But it's funny you should mention snobbery, as I wanted to bring up just how pretentious Brendon Urie seems on album opener We're So Starving.

ST: How so?

PM: Imagine if I started off a review like this:

Oh, how it's been so long.
I'm so sorry I've been gone.
I was busy writing reviews!
You don't have to worry 'cause I'm still the same budding music journalist!

ST: That's a terrible idea. Why would you ever start a review like that? You're right, you do need my help!

PM: But don't you get it? Change "reviews" to "songs", "budding music journalist" to "band", fix the pronouns, and stack enough vocal harmonies on top of eachother to give Brian Wilson a brain aneurysm: it's the opening track.

ST: Oh wow, I see what you mean. Instead of giving the fans reassurance, I think it might achieve the opposite effect: disorientation.

PM: Or worse, disenchantment!

ST: Have you ever considered that it's intended to be a bit tongue-in-cheek?

PM: Well yeah, it crossed my mind. I mean the band can be pretty clever, so I wouldn't put it past them, but it rubbed me the wrong way nonetheless.

ST: Fair enough. It sounds like you have plenty to write a review, but you're almost out of time. In 90 seconds this call will no longer be toll-free, and instead cost $4.00 per minute or fraction thereof, so I'd suggest you wrap it up. Anything you'd like to add before you go?

PM: No, not really, except that whenever I hear the single Nine In The Afternoon, those opening notes on the piano really throw me for a loop. I always think that I'm listening to Wishbone by Architecture In Helsinki!

ST: Architecture in who, now?

PM: Eh, nevermind...Thanks for all your help, it's been great. Oh! And one more question: I was considering just publishing this as the review. What are your thoughts on that?

ST: What do you mean by "this"?

PM: You know, the transcript of this conversation, kinda like a concept review of sorts.

ST: I think Brent DiCrescenzo beat that horse to death awhile back...and frankly he did it better here and here and here and here, and of course here.

PM: Brent who, now? And I can't click those links, I told you, we're on the telephone!

ST: Eh, nevermind...I'm sorry, the toll-free period has elapsed. Your credit card will now be char--

PM: *click*


The review proper

A disappointing follow-up to what was a very interesting, albeit repetitive debut.

(Click to download)


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  2. Why did the group drop the exclamation mark?

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