Jacqueline’s Album Recommendations III


These two albums have consumed my everyday life for the past few months. Because of this, I’ve gotten to the point where, since I’ve over-listened to them, they’re starting to lose the spark they had when I first started listening. Before that happens, in this installment of music recommendations, I’ll explain why they are so valuable to me.

Pretty. Odd. Panic! At the Disco (2008)
My sister formally introduced me to Panic! At the Disco sometime last year, but I didn’t start intensively listening to their work (particularly this album), until February 2022.
It took me a while to start listening to their music because I wasn’t entirely into Brendon Urie’s voice. He isn’t a bad singer, people obviously enjoy his music, but I think it’s because of the tone he has? Urie has a higher-pitched, recognizable tone of voice. In retrospect, I wasn’t appreciating the fact that his singing has an effortlessness to it that, from my knowledge, isn’t easy to do.

I’m not an expert on all things Panic! At the Disco, but I can vouch for the fact that Ryan Ross has a beautiful voice. I wouldn’t say that he is necessarily the best singer I’ve ever heard in my life, but he does have a “plain” essence to his singing that I think sounds very pretty. There are so many people in the music industry with unique styles of singing and writing, that when there’s someone who isn’t too over-the-top it’s like a breath of fresh air. That’s what Ross insinuated for me. There are so many lyrics that I loved throughout this album, but the opening lyrics of Behind the Sea is definitely one of my favorites:

A daydream spills from my corked head
Breaks free of my wooden neck
Left a nod over sleeping waves
Like bobbing bait for bathing cod
Floating flocks of candled swans
Slowly drift across wax ponds

This chunk of lyrics gives me intense Syd Barrett vibes. I think it’s because the lyrics don’t make much sense unless you create meaning from them yourself; that’s the great thing about non-specific song lyrics. I also love how whimsical they’re instrumentals are throughout the album, the songs are all super fun and, for the most part, upbeat.

This also reminds me of Barrett because Ross left the band pretty early on, much like Barrett did. Also, I have noticed that if I’m ever obsessed with a band, the members who leave first are always the ones with the most distinctive qualities to offer. That’s not to say that the rest of the band members are bad at what they do, on the contrary they are completely amazing as well. But when it comes to musical diversity and creativity coming out of these band’s music, they are the ones who tied everything together. Much how Ross and Barrett did for their bands.

I really enjoyed the songs Behind the Sea, When the Day Met the Night, and Mad as Rabbits. Those songs made me very happy, hopefully you find something of importance within the walls of this album, I know I did.

Take A Vacation!, The Young Veins (2010)
This album has a very 60s feel to it, mostly because of how simplistic and non-complicated it is. If you’re into that kind of music, this is definitely the album for you. The majority of 60s-sounding music tends to be very cute and sweet, which is exactly what this album is. (My sister would categorize me as being in love with this kind of music. I personally don’t see it, but I guess I do like a lot of music that sounds similar.)

One thing I found amusing about this album was the title. This was the first (and only) album by the former Panic! At the Disco members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker, so I took the album title as wanting to take an actual vacation from being part of the band as a whole. I obviously don’t know the context behind the creation of the album, but I’m assuming it had to do with musical differences between everybody involved. The addition of the exclamation point really makes me feel that they were very excited to take their vacation.

All of the songs on this album are amazing, and Nothing Matters but You, fully encapsulates this whole idea of hopeless romanticism that comes out of 60s music. What I found really cool about the song was how they incorporated the vocals of a female singer as a supplement to Ross’ singing. It reminded me a lot of songs on Preservation Act 2 by the Kinks because they also had a female singer which made for a very calming and refreshing listening experience. In Nothing Matters but You, the addition of both feminine and masculine singers made it as though two people were singing to each other even though they were pretty much singing overtop each other. I really enjoyed that because it added another layer of depth to the song.

The lyrics throughout the album are pretty easy to follow, but I love that because it’s much easier for the listener to follow the storyline of the songs. For example, when I first heard their song, Cape Town, this was the lines that caught my attention right away:

Woke me in the morning
Asked me if I meant it, I didn’t
Asked to be her husband
She already had one in prison

It made me laugh just because of Ross’ singing about being “in love” with the person he just met. The whole idea of her husband being in prison made him sound so naive about the fact that she’s married, throughout the rest of the song he’s almost as though he couldn’t care less if she was married.

Instrumentally, I don’t have expertise, but I can say that they have a very straightforward (much like their lyrics) and uncomplicated approach in that area. It’s a very moving experience hearing the guitars playing throughout the album.

I can’t stress enough the fact that this album is very 60s-oriented. If you’re into that type of music style, I can almost guarantee that you’ll love this album from start to finish. Some of my favorite songs off this album are: Cape Town, Dangerous Blues, and Heart of Mine.

Both of these albums have made their way into the shelves of songs and albums in my heart. Not only for their unique use of musical instruments and questionable lyrical expressions, but also because of their fun use of punctuation marks on their album titles. These two pieces of art made me realize the craze surrounding Panic! At the Disco and their counterparts. I hope they bring the same excitement and curiosity for life they gave me while listening.