In honor of the 10th anniversary of Panic! at the Disco’s second album “Pretty. Odd.,” I felt it would be appropriate to describe my complicated love story with this album.
I have to be honest—I used to hate this album. I thought it was weird and didn’t fit with the general vibe of other albums by Panic! at the Disco. But thanks to one of my best friends, I gave it another listen around two years ago, and it completely changed my life and outlook on music.
To give this some perspective, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” Panic!’s first album, is my favorite album of all time. The general sound and execution of the ideas portrayed in the lyrics is perfectly done, and the day I first listened to it, I knew my music taste would completely change.
As the follow up to “Fever,” I thought “Pretty. Odd.” was underwhelming. It didn’t have the in your face type of angst as “Fever” or the same hard hitting instrumentals, but once I gave it a second chance, I knew it had something special.
The lyricism and simplicity in the instruments takes the listener back to more classic bands such as The Beatles, arguably one of the best musical groups of all time. The simple beauty of the lyrics, especially in my favorite song of all time, “Northern Downpour,” portray something even more than “Fever”: love and understanding. A perfect example of this would be in the final song of the album, “Mad as Rabbits,” which repeats the lyric “reinvent love.”
Everything is more simple. From the guitar being mostly acoustic to the more frequent addition of piano, strings and horns, “Pretty. Odd.” is almost a different genre from “Fever,” but there is nothing wrong with change.
Some people believe that their favorite band should always remain the same, keeping with similar style and execution in their sound, but this only hurts and band and stunts their development. Different isn’t always bad, and by Panic! experimenting with a new style, we as listeners get to experience something new as well.
The album itself is probably the least popular album by Panic!, and I can understand why. At first listen, every other album contains more power in the vocals and instruments, but it took me being patient and letting myself grow and mature with the album to appreciate its hidden beauty.
Panic! really matured with this album. They went from angsty teenage boys during “Fever” era to young adults in their '20s during “Pretty. Odd.” era. Coming off of an extremely successful first album, it was risky of them to make such a dramatic change, but this risk was definitely one that paid off.
Although singer Brendon Urie, and only remaining member of the band from this era, will likely neglect to acknowledge the album on its anniversary, there is certainly something to be celebrated with this album. Even if he has forgotten about the musical success of this album, fans of pre-split Panic! including myself will never forget the powerful impact of “Pretty. Odd.”