Vices & Virtues (Deluxe Edition)
With the 2009 departure of songwriter/guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker, many fans expected Panic! at the Disco to either disband or hire new members. Unpredictably, Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith decided to forge ahead as a duo. Subsequently, 2011’s Vices & Virtues furthers Panic! at the Disco’s fascination with vaudevillian emo and hook-laden power pop, sounding as if the only noticeable change is a stronger focus on songwriting and more economical arrangements. It starts with the incredibly catchy “The Ballad of Mona Lisa,” where a dark whimsy contrasts sunny melodies in the chorus. Urie’s voice sounds so seasoned and confident, especially in the orchestra-laden “Ready to Go (Get Me out of My Mind),” which plays with just enough endearing teenage drama and ‘80s pop influences to recall the soundtracks to John Hughes’ films. Of the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition, “Stall Me” is a powerhouse of driving heartfelt guitar pop, and the demo of “Oh Glory” is danceable emo pop at its best.