Panic! At The Disco's album, "Death of a Bachelor," which debuted in 2016, is very "secrets in the night"–esque. In an interview with iHeartRadio in 2016, Brendon Urie stated, "This album really symbolized who I've become as a new artist, and as a new producer and songwriter, and everything that I feel about the past. [...] "Death of a Bachelor" is talking about getting back to my roots, but being able to move forward in a new light, in a new era as a brand new person."
The album does indeed reflect this, with many of the songs playing on themes of looking back, transformation, and endings, but there is also a constant sub-theme of the good and the bad, sinning, and just a little bit of morally-threatening overindulgence. It wouldn't be too crazy to say these are some of Panic! At The Disco's signature themes.
Now, as someone with an overactive imagination, it came to my attention that the lush and ornate nature of these songs could be taken quite a few different ways. "House of Memories," in particular, had a set of lyrics that screamed vampire to me, but not a regular vampire. Due to the themes of the album, I'm convinced this tune is sung from the perspective of a lone, centuries-old vampire partying in the modern century, who is constantly thinking about his past, albeit he is reflecting on it in a melancholy of sorts.
Allow me to explain. The vampire speaks to two people within the song and at any point within the lyrics, he is either warning or reflecting. In Verse 1, we begin with the lines,
"If you're a lover, you should know
The lonely moments just get lonelier
The longer you're in love
Than if you were alone
Memories turn into daydreams
Become a taboo"
He is speaking in the first person here and this person is someone in the modern day, or rather, they are in whatever present he is currently living in. He is confirming that they understand love can be lonely, but I believe he's stating this because he has experienced several long loves and he finds it deeply saddening because that love never lasts. Since he cannot die (due to his vampirism), he finds being in love very lonely, because he is constantly faced with the inevitable moment in the future where he will be alone once again.
Then, the "Memories turn into daydreams, Become a taboo," is in reference to moments in his memories which may have become taboo in our current society. Given the sub-themes, we might deduct the vampire has had a consistent streak of participating in "sinful" or temptatious acts throughout his life. Many of his memories could include these acts — defiling maidens in a church, spilling blood, dancing naked in the woods, being generally over-extravagant — and while they might have once been normal within his vampiric-circle, they're now a bit outdated as he finds himself surrounded by humans. No matter how cool it sounds, you won't find many people wearing three-piece suits with coattails out in broad daylight.
Verse 1 continues with the lines, "I don't want to be afraid / The deeper that I go / It takes my breath away," which seem to be a confession of his fear of getting older. From the somewhat sad tone of the song, he might be growing tired of his immortality and is in a bit of awe that the world is still going.
The second verse is where the vampire speaks to the second person, who isn't really there. Verse 2 is the vampire speaking to the memory of a past love:
"I think of you from time to time
More than I thought I would
You were just too kind
And I was too young to know
That's all that really matters
I was a fool"
The lines, "You were just too kind / And I was too young to know" might be highlighting the mistakes he made in his younger years and then "That's all that really matters / I was a fool," seem to confirm that. Since this song has already mentioned love, the mistakes are likely to be relating to a relationship. Perhaps, he had a human lover who he abandoned?
Then in the bridge, the vampire returns to speaking to the person in the present. He states, "Those thoughts of / Past lovers / They'll always haunt me" telling them of his past. Then the lines continue with, "I wish I / Could believe / You'd never wrong me," which is interesting. Clearly, from his past romantic endeavors he has learned the hard truth that not only can he be betrayed, but as the beginning of the song states, love can never last. The vampire also refers to this present person in a way that would suggest there is something between them.
Last, but not least, there is the chorus, which I think proves the most of this vampire theory. It states with the lines, "Baby we built this house / On memories," which I don't think refers to a house. The vampire is instead saying that "we" are him and all the ones of his past, and "house" is his own legacy. His legacy is legitimately built on memories. He is a vampire, alone and rather depressed, and all he has left is all his collective experiences. Then the chorus continues,
"Take my picture now
Shake it till you see it
And when your fantasies
Become your legacy
Promise me a place
In your house of memories"
He wants this new person to take his picture, and since they have to shake it, it's clearly a Polaroid that will develop later. When the person's fantasies — their aspirations — come true, the vampire wants them to keep him in their house of memories. So, all of these things are going to happen at a later moment, after the present, and by then the vampire will be gone. By the time the Polaroid develops, they'll see he isn't visible whatsoever, revealing his true identity. This will shock them, make them question things, and will solidify his presence within their life forever, even if he isn't there.
Since he is both regret and sad, this might be how he has chosen to live his immortal life, forever keeping himself in the memories of others throughout time. This theory can also seep into "Golden Days," another song on the album. The entire first verse of the song includes the lines, "I found a pile of Polaroids / In the crates of a record shop / They were sexy, sexy looking back / From a night that time forgot," which would tie into the Polaroid that is being shaken in "House of Memories." Of course, the verse finishes with, "Boy, he was something, debonair in 1979 / And she had Farrah Fawcett hair / Carafes of blood-red wine," which both hurts and improves the theory. From the lines, it seems this person can see the man in the photo. Yet, he describes the woman's hair and refers to the man as debonair. Perhaps, he can only make out the clothing of the man, while he can see physical features of the woman. And obviously, "carafes of blood-red wine," is an extremely supportive factor to the vampire theory.Now, on Genius the top voted meaning of the song is, "It's about the realization of how finally being wedded to the one you love can almost seem worse than being alone," which makes complete sense and is probably the correct analyzation. I just can't help but listen to "House of Memories" in a way that suggests it is coming from an emotionally agonized immortal who forever feels the repercussions of lost love. The entire album is filled with deep tones and extravagant notes, and if a vampire were to ever write a song, "House of Memories" is a great example of how it would turn out.