The Bottom Line
Few recent pop/rock bands have so effectively zeroed in on musical factors that strongly appeal to teen listeners as Panic! at the Disco. "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," the second single from the band's debut album A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, is a quintessential song by the group. A sense of theater, emotional angst, and concern for and about privacy all add up to a teen blockbuster.
Listen to "I Write Sins Not Tragedies."
- Sharp focus on intended teen audience
- Fully assured sense of pop melody
- Aura of pop theater
- A slight sense that it's all a bit cheap and easy
- Overheard rumor at a wedding
- Repeated admonitions about privacy
- Crashing guitars and precision drums
Guide Review - Panic! at the Disco - I Write Sins Not Tragedies
"I Write Sins Not Tragedies" kicks off with an overheard conversation that concludes with the loaded word "whore." The remainder of the song focuses on the angst occurring from overhearing words meant to be private. This is all surrounded by rock with a theatrical edge. The song could just as easily be an outtake from an edgy rock musical as simply a song from Panic! at the Disco's first album.
Most of the group members are still teenagers themselves. It is no wonder they so easily grasp musical elements that appeal to their peers. Emotional drama, concern about privacy, and rumor add up to a potent mix that has propelled "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" into the pop top 40.
Musically, the work of Panic! at the Disco owes a lot to punk pop, but there is also an underlying spirit of the Broadway musical that makes their approach unique. Ricocheting guitars and gunshot snares take a back seat to infectious melody that instantly grabs attention. It would be easy to dismiss this all as a cheap, easy grab for teen dollars, but, then, the effortless ease with which "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" worms its way into your brain should count for something more.