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As far as I am concerned, the title of this album 'Pretty Odd' sums up the album completely. That is not to say the album is bad in anyway. Its just extremely unique, which I think is a good thing to be honest.
I am pretty sure it is safe to say, you will not find an album or music by any other artist which is anything like the music on this album!
This is a pretty long album, and every single song is completely different in every way possible to the next.
Some songs are upbeat and incredibly happy, some are country music- esk, some sounds like old jazz music, and some is downright depressing (in the best possible way).
Its no surprise that at least one of these songs ('Nine in the Afternoon') arguably more than this, are about drug use. It has to be said that many of the others, even if not directly about drugs, have quite a few links to how people feel when they're high. I think is what makes it such an interesting album though, there are so many ways in which you can interpret this music and the message which they are trying to get across. I love the uniqueness.
After Panic! at the Disco released the 2005 Album 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out' which mostly everyone thought was amazing because it was based on punk cabaret music; They then released the album 'Pretty. Odd'. Now I have nothing against the album 'Pretty. Odd' but it is more calmer; more subtle. But seeing as it was a change from their usual music; I decided to give it a chance.
I listened to the whole album through and I think that maybe it's not that bad. Some of the tracks on this album I prefer to others such as Nine in the Afternoon, That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed), Northern Downpour and Mad As Rabbits. But there is some tracks on the album which i'm not to sure about such as Behind the Sea, When the day met the night, and She's a handsome woman. I don't really enjoy those tracks as to the others because they are infact quite slow.
But seeing as Panic at the disco have since split but replaced Ryan Ross and Jon Walker with Ian Crawford and Dallon Weekes, Panic at the Disco have now brought back the ! in the original name Panic at the Disco and Jon Walker and Ryan Ross have now formed a band themselves and named themselves 'The Young Veins'.
In my opinion if you enjoyed the 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out' album, Do stick to the Panic! at the Disco. Yet, if you prefer the 'Pretty. Odd' album. I'd go ahead and listen to 'The Young Veins' :)
If you Heard Panic at the Disco's first album, this one will really take you by surprise! Pretty Odd is just that, Panic at the Disco's first album was fast, with strong beats some pretty dark music and powerful lyrics. This album is ermmmm... Fun? Happy? Pop??
To be honest if you were a big fan of there first album you may not enjoy this one, on the other hand, if you didnt enjoy the first, this might be for you. There are some really upbeat songs with happy lyrics that put a smile on your face.
Panic at the Disco have produced a really good pop album here. There image has no doubt changed, and it will be interesting to see in future which way they go.
Overall though this is still a good album and while it is much more commercal than the first it is still well worth a listen.
I have written and deleted this review about a hundred time! I am finding it so hard to know what to say about this band and this album, but yet I have the massive urge to say something about them!
I will begin by saying they are an American Emo quartet and that this album smacks a bit too much of The Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. As probably the only avid Beatles hater I know, this doesn't impress me but I will allow it because I think the band have a really good sense of humour about themselves. So who cares that they are blatantly copying old classics and pulling them off as their own because at least they do it without removing their tongues from their cheeks.
As for the music, well it sounds a bit mental on this album. What I mean by that is that it's a but over stuffed...busy if you will. It houses a mad theatrical combination of organs, bird sounds, pipes, trumpets, banjos and marching drums and although it's listenable, I sometimes wonder if they create their music to sound deliberately half bad/half good (kind of to be ironic) or if its serendipitous.
The lyrics too are a very ridiculous (but in an amusing honest way) and actually I really like the quality of the vocals-who sometimes sound a bit like Ocean Colour Scene and sometime remind me at best of Elvis Costello's voice and great parodies.
So do I rate them or slate them? Tough question: but for American kiddy emo-pop I dont think they are that bad and they are certainly better than bands like Metro Station and other like scenie-boppers.
Pretty Odd is the second album from the American band Panic At The Disco. If you have listened to their first album, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, you will be surprised how different these two albums are! Their first album deals with mainly poppy, beaty tracks, whereas this second album covers a broad spectrum of music styles such as baroque, acoustic ballads, and songs that are reminiscent of the styles of ELO's Mr Blue Sky and The Beatles.
I was pleasantly surprised by this album, I think it is far better than the first, it feels as though they have really found their feet and produced an album full of quality songs.
The album cover is... well I guess there is only one way to describe it... pretty odd! But then do we expect anything less from a band that are themselves odd? Their "oddness" shows through in their lyrics and song titles such as "I write Sins not Tragedies" (from the first album), "The Piano Knows Something I don't know" and "We're so starving".
I don't think there is a bad track on this album, it has been a firm favourite of mine ever since I first listened to it. For the first time on their songs the job of vocals has been occasionally shared by Brendon Urie and Ryan Ross (for example on Northern Downpour) with excellent results.
Here's my track by track opinion:
1. We're So Starving - 1:21 The opening track of the album. Starts off with a chirpy guitar melody, then the vocals kick in. Gives the impression of being played live, with the cheering of the crowd in the background. A catchy little number, can't really call it a song as its only a minute and half long! A good tune, and a good indication of things to come. This track merges directly into...
2. Nine in the Afternoon - 3:11 This song has a thumping piano beat, much like Mr Blue Sky by ELO. Again a nice cheery song, with a good memorable tune. Silly lyrics mind you: "Its nine in the afternoon, your eyes are the size of the moon", but that's what you expect from Panic! The first single off this album to be released, and you can see why. It has radio playability - sounds like a mainstream popular song. I'm impressed.
3. She's a Handsome Woman - 3:12 This goes straight in all guns blazing - a catchy guitar riff with choral vocals over the top. Another lively tune, with fantastic vocals from Urie. The chorus is what really makes the song, its got a good memorable tune to it. Probably my least favourite song on this album, but its not a bad song by a long shot.
4. Do You Know What I'm Seeing? - 4:14 Starts off with a lovely mellow guitar rhythm and Urie's silly vocals over the top about clouds floating along. However, these silly lyrics have a very smooth tune, and its unbelievably catchy. The drums kick in after a few seconds, with a harmonica in the background. Strings join in a bit later, it all comes to a climax... and then returns to how it was at the start, guitar and vocals. And we go again... this song has a brilliant tune and the lyrics compliment it perfectly. A brilliant song.
5. That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed) - 3:15 Starts off chirpy enough, again a good beat and catchy tune. I can hear bells in the background of this one... strange! A lively song, with excellent vocals from Urie. A very toe-tapping chorus, very bouncy! Another impressive song.
6. I Have Friends in Holy Spaces - 1:56 This one is truly bizarre - you get the impression of a lazy summer's day in the fifties... with a jazz record playing on the old fashioned gramophone and the listeners having a quick dance around the garden. Not really a song, as its so short, perhaps more of an interlude.
7. Northern Downpour - 4:07 This is a beautiful acoustic ballad. It features simple guitar with Urie's mellow vocals over the top. This is one song where the lyrics are actually sensible and meaningful, and a little sad. Listening to this makes me feel very relaxed. Ross takes the chorus brilliantly, an excellent sound to his voice. One of the best songs on the album.
8. When the Day Met the Night - 4:53 - This starts with an introduction that is strikingly similar to "Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi. But when the vocals start you realise that's where the similarities end.... Urie's smooth vocals totally enchant you, the tune is so catchy, and the chorus livens up a bit - its very cheerful. A song that shows off Urie's voice perfectly.
9. Pas de Cheval - 2:39 This sounds like music you would ride a horse to, hence the title (which I think means no horse? Cheval is definitely horse!!). The beat sounds like a galloping horse, very bouncy. A lively tune that is accented with brass instruments and an air-guitar worthy solo in the middle.
10. The Piano Knows Something I Don't Know - 3:43 This starts with a delicate flute melody with wispy vocals over the top, very strange. But very promptly livens up! A good beat, with I think some bells in the background, but it doesn't sound Christmassy at all! A good range of instruments are used, but there doesn't seem to be many vocals to this song. This I think is a good song, but it doesn't have the quality of some of the other songs on the album.
11. Behind the Sea - 3:33 This song reminds me of the Beatles - it sounds so much like them. It reminds me of whichever Beatles song it is where they are in a pub and the crowd is singing in the background. I can't remember if its Yellow Submarine? Anyway it reminds me of this. A very mellow tune, featuring Ross & Urie in perfect harmony.
12. Folkin' Around - 1:55 Another "interlude" on the album, with a strong folk style! You get the hint that they composed this when they were "Folkin' around"!. Very cheerful and toe-tapping, with surprisingly good meaningful lyrics!
13. She Had the World - 3:47 This one is in Baroque style, with a harpsichord accompaniment. More of a chilled out tune, featuring smooth vocals from Urie and Ross. A gorgeous tune to this song, its one of my favourites. It really brings out the quality of the guys voices, they knit together perfectly. Very relaxing.
14. From a Mountain in the Middle of the Cabins - 3:02 Starts out with a brass introduction, which merges into a perky little tune. Another song with silly lyrics... This is one of the more basic songs on the album, featuring vocals and a simple accompaniment. You listen to it expecting something different to kick in halfway through - like a big brass band all of a sudden - but it doesn't happen. Are the lads being sensible here? By no means is this song boring though, its got a good tune and a catchy whistling bit halfway through with save it.
15. Mad as Rabbits - 3:48 The last song on the album, and they go out with a bang! A very lively number with a chorus that screams out for you to sing along to it. Both Urie and Ross take the vocals for this one. A good closing track for the album.
There are so many styles on this album and they are all carried off perfectly. This is the best album I have heard in a long time, all 15 tracks are good which is a rarity!
Panic at the disco was formed in 2004. They were origionally called "Panic! at the disco". People were so confused as to what they were actually called, it was the biggest punctuation controversy since '.38 Special' ditched their decimal point.
Anyway, back onto the album. During "We're So Starving," the opening track to Pretty.Odd the band romises they are still the same old band and have been writing songs for their fans:
You don't have to worry
'Cause we're still the same
(We're still the same)
However, i do not think this is so. Compared to their debut album- "A fever you can't sweat out", this pales in the site. Stories of stripclubs, cheating etc have been replaced with pop tunes that could rivel The Beach Boys. They reminisce. The first song they released off the album, "Nine in the Afternoon," is an upbeat throwback to "Sgt. Pepper" by of course, the Beatles.
The upbeatness could be seem as a good thing to most people, even when it is over the top (which is basically most of the time), the album always seems cheerful. Some of the songs are weak and strays from the album's purpose. They are not as whitty or ironic as the first album, but some songs are actually pretty good. Urie's (the lead singer) vocals are impeccable and more mature in terms of range.
This is am okay album, people who enjoyed their first album will probably like this.
Pretty. Odd. is very different. I will guarantee you will not like it on the first spin, but stick with it - it's a grower. It is overproduced to the level that the music seems to be forgotten in exchange for weird effects. But you can blame Rob Mathes for that!
I have seen very mixed reviews for the album, but the reviews don't really tell the full picture because everyone who I have spoken to about Pretty. Odd. seems to enjoys the album. And not all of them were fans before this album.
The album launches with the tongue-in-cheek 'We're So Starving' which musically sounds very good. The lyrics are bad, but as I say - it's tongue-in-cheek so all is forgiven I suppose... but I still wish they had avoided the whole "You don't have to worry, you don't have to worry, you don't". It makes them sound very egotistical.
'Nine in the Afternoon' is next, which is overplayed on the radio, making it very annoying. But it is still very catchy. 'She's a Handsome Woman' is not too bad. I do like the bass on this song.
I prefer the acoustic version of 'Do You Know What I'm Seeing?'. The album version is not so good, the production of the album really bad at times.
'That Green Gentleman' is a good track. It's catchy. It's one of the best songs on the album. 'I Have Friends In Holy Spaces' is a solo track by lead singer Brendon Urie. It's catchy.
'Northern Downpour' is next. It's one of the stronger tracks on the album. It's simple, and one of the only tracks that hasn't been overproduced at all. It has some superb lyrics : "I know the world's a broken bone but melt your headaches, call it home."
When I first heard the live performance of 'When The Day Met The Night' I was impressed. And it continued when I heard the acoustic version of the track. But when I heard the album version - I was disappointed.
'Pas De Cheval' - I love the drums in this song, it sounds like a horse galloping. It was catchy at first but the song gets annoying after a while.
'The Piano Knows Something I Don't Know' is the 10th track of the album. The middle part of this song is very catchy, I don't like the opening or the ending though. One thing that always bugs me about this track is the way that the 'know' in the lyrics doesn't fit the song at all :"The Piano Knows Something I Don't................Know." Nor do I like the epic amounts of "Of course, of course, of course, of course" at the end of the song.
'Behind The Sea' sees guitarists Ryan Ross take centre stage on lead vocals which is refreshing. You don't see many bands do that. He has a nice voice. But once again, I like the acoustic version of this song a lot more than the album version.
'Folkin' Around' is the second solo song on the album by Brendon Urie. This one is slightly over the top, epic folk-y-ness. It's a camp fire song. It's Pretty Odd.
'She Had The World' is awful, awful awful. It's one of the worst songs I have ever heard.. ever. I skip it out every time.
'From A Mountain In The Middle Of The Cabins' is another odd one. I am not really sure what I think of it - there are moments of the song that are good - and others which are bad.
'Mad as Rabbits' is the final track on Pretty. Odd. and is by far the best song on the album. Totally mad lyrics. Vocals are shared between Urie and Ross - and the mixture really works. The keyboard works well. The bass riff in the song is very good.
Admittedly, it's not the best album in the world - but I don't think it deserves the bad reviews it has received. But I have managed to listen to the album almost 100 times - it has lasting value but it's starting to get a bit boring now.
When Panic at the Disco released the début album 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out' in early 2006 they quickly became the nations favourite band. In truth the band was little more than a Fall Out Boy clone with an added synth element to their sound, but nonetheless the music appealed to many and thus over 2.2 million copies of their début have been shifted in the U.S. alone. Whilst I'd be the first to admit that their sound was not particularly progressive and was merely a regurgitation of sounds which in truth had already been done to death before Panic at the Disco even came to be, I must say that I personally am a huge fan of the first album and it is in fact one that I still play an awful lot now. When Panic at the Disco emerged in early 2008 with new track 'Nine in the Afternoon' it came as quite a shock then that the music I was hearing I actually found to be terrifically dull and boring. All the life and energy that the band had previously possessed was all but gone, Panic at the Disco were a mere shadow of their former selves and any excitement that had formerly existed in their sound was now seemingly no more.
'Pretty Odd' opens with the disappointing 'We're So Starving', a minute and a half of lacklustre self loving nonsense. There's a great irony of the band here singing 'You don't have to worry cause we're still the same band', a complete lie of a statement which completely contradicts the fact that the music on this second album is entirely uninspiring and devoid of any of the great energy that their début was so packed with. As Panic at the Disco plod their way through this lethargic opener you know right from the offset that this album really isn't going to be up to much and that 'Pretty Odd' is in actual fact going to be pretty rubbish. 'We're so sorry we've been gone' Brendon Urie doth sing, oh how I wish that they'd never come back; at least that way I'd have purely fond memories of the band, as it stands however the mere thought of Panic at the Disco fills me with anger at how such a talented and enthusiastic band could let it all go so horribly wrong.
Before listening to this album I was not at all looking forward to once more hearing the track 'Nine in the Afternoon' that has been polluting the airwaves of national radio for some weeks now. When listening to this album though you start to realise that it is in fact one of the highlights here. It's by no means a good track, it is however more tolerable than much of the tracks on this album. It quickly becomes irritating, drags along painfully and never do Panic at the Disco here show any real talent. Now I'm not one to dissect the lyrical content of bands of this sort, but when lines as poor as 'It's nine in the afternoon, and your eyes are the size of the moon' are thrust upon you, it's quite hard not to pass comment about them. I'd love to know what the bands guitarist-come-lyricist Ryan Ross was thinking when this track was written, surely no one in their right mind would truly see these lines as well written? As the band further progress through this album though you learn that the cringe worthy lines definitely don't stop here. As Brendon Urie so eloquently puts across the line of 'I know it's sad that I never gave a damn about the weather, And it never gave a damn about me' you can't help but have a wry smile to yourself. The lyrics of Panic at the Disco have never been particularly excellent, but they surely could have done better than this. Some may argue that Panic at the Disco are here purely further exploring the subtly ironic humour that was exhibited on début album 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out', I however see these heinous lyrical crimes as nothing but laziness.
The first real moment of promise on this album comes in the form of 'That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed)'. The only way to really describe this track is that its sort of how the band sounded on their first album, but the music just isn't quite right. The guitars go off in a strange distorted manner, and the band all seem to be progressing in different directions. This is not a band, but instead four different musicians that each want to achieve something different with the music. The vocals are quite like the more successful anthems from the 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out' album, the way in which the tune progresses however just isn't anywhere near as appealing. The band members all sound tired, you get the impression that the band don't want to be producing music any more and have merely released a second album in order to cash in a little more on the success that was garnered with the first album. The lyrics are lazy, the tunes are half cocked, and everything about the music is just entirely uninspiring and really kind of irritating.
What I hate most about this 'Pretty Odd' album is the fact that there are fifteen tracks here meaning that the album clocks in at over 48 minutes in length. Whilst with 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out' there were thirteen tracks and subsequently eight minutes less of music, when I listened to that album I was left wanting for more, but when I listen to 'Pretty Odd' I am constantly wanting for it all to come to a close. The album drags and it drags, track after track the band continues to disappoint and never once do Panic at the Disco here offer up anything even close to lively or exciting. There are a couple of tracks that are interesting to begin with, but even those fast become boring. Panic at the Disco completely lose the plot halfway through this album, the second half drags even more so than the first and never is there anything remotely interesting to cling on to for a little bit of listening satisfaction. By the time that final track 'Mad As Rabbits' is reached, four or five tracks have already come before that leave no lasting impact whatsoever. At best 'Pretty Odd' is background music, and I don't know about you but personally I have standards for my background music and definitely wouldn't offend my ears with such background bilge as this.
'Mad As Rabbits' as a closing track is not at all effective. It's a lifeless bore that fails to ever really get going and in truth is perhaps the perfect closer for an album that disappoints so heavily. You're not expecting anything to happen here, and in that respect I guess the track does it's job in providing for the lacklustre close you always knew it would be. The lyrics are ridiculous, the back beat will wash right over you, and the vocals have no life in them whatsoever. It is the lifeless nature of the vocals I feel that makes the 'Pretty Odd' album such a great disappointment, Brendon Urie was always hugely enthusiastic as he sung his way through the bands 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out' début album, here however he sounds incredibly bored at almost all times and rarely does he show any signs of perking up. The vocal skill of Brendon Urie was what I loved most about Panic at the Disco, and although he alone is not to blame for the failure of the band on this album; he must take a fair proportion of it. In the bands first album however, the tracks were always blessed with a catchy chorus and super guitar hook as well which would never fail to press all the right buttons. Throughout the 'Pretty Odd' album there is not one such brilliant guitar hook that I can think of, even the riffs that were remotely interesting to begin with were repeated so many times in a track that they became infuriatingly irritating. The general melody of the tracks just isn't the same as it were with 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out', interesting and quirky has now been replaced with tiresome and predictable. The music plods, the vocals drone, and on every level 'Pretty Odd' is pretty ineffective.
Panic at the Disco is probably the biggest rock band in the world right now, the fact of the matter though is that this second album 'Pretty Odd' just isn't very good. The band show no real signs of promise here, the music is dull and uninspiring; energy is kept to a minimum and when listening to this album you get the distinct impression that after four years together as a band Panic at the Disco no longer want to be making music under this name. All four members of the band seem to be dragging in different directions, the music has therefore been ruined and the sound that Panic at the Disco produce on this 'Pretty Odd' album is incredibly poor and at too many times provides for a painful listening experience. Had Panic at the Disco released this album as their first then I have no doubt that success would never have come for them, as it stands though 'Pretty Odd' will no doubt go on to sell far more copies than it really should. This is not a good album, it's not even an average one for that matter; 'Pretty Odd' is incredibly poor and Panic at the Disco really should have done a lot better than this.
Label: Fueled By Ramen
Release Date: 24th March 2008
Originally posted by me on my website Alt-UK.com
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 We're So Starving
2 Nine In The Afternoon
3 She's A Handsome Woman
4 Do You Know What I'm Seeing?
5 That Green Gentlemen
6 I Have Friends In Holy Spaces
7 Northern Downpour
8 When The Day Met The Night
9 Pas De Cheval
10 The Piano Knows Something I Don't Know
11 Behind The Sea
12 Folkin' Around
13 She Had The World
14 From A Mountain In The Middle Of The Cabins
15 Mad As Rabbits