Brendon Urie ends Panic! At The Disco after 20 years in his greatest career decision (2024)

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co-Features/A&E Editor
February 1, 2023

A staple of every emo kid’s childhood is feeling empowered by singing along to the classic Panic! At The Disco hit, “I Write Sins (Not Tragedies)” and screaming out the lyric “What a shame the poor groom’s bride is a whor*.” It’s a song that to this day brings back the nostalgia of pop-punk. So it’s no surprise that Brendon Urie, lead singer for the band, went viral when he ended Panic! At The Disco for good.

What I’m sure Urie expected from this news were heartfelt posts, fans crying over his decision. Instead, what he has received is a rejoice by the emo community for the end of the band and possibly his best career decision to date.

Brendon Urie ends Panic! At The Disco after 20 years in his greatest career decision (1)

Now you may be wondering, why on Earth would you ever be happy for a band to end? To put it simply, Panic! At The Disco was done the second that Brendon Urie fired third bassist Dallon Weekes and became the only member left of the band. From that moment on, Panic! At The Disco became Urie’s personal project, no longer a band formulating with the same mission it started with.

In order to understand the big deal about Urie continuing the band as the only member left, it’s important to know the history of Panic! At The Disco. The band began in 2004 with original members Ryan Ross (guitar and vocals) and Spencer Smith (drums) who later brought in Brent Wilson (bass). While looking for a replacement guitarist, Wilson found Urie through guitar lessons and invited him to try out for the band. After learning that Urie could sing well, he took Ross’ position as lead vocalist and thus Panic! At The Disco were able to release their first album “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” in 2005.

“A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” was an emo dream come true. Filled with long song titles, narrative song lyrics, a crazy display of different instrumentals, and an overall almost industrial aesthetic that was new to the pop-punk music scene. I will say there is nothing that will surpass this start for the band. But a close second came through when the band released their second album, with new bassist Jon Walker titled “Pretty. Odd.” in 2008. This album took on a new sound filled with folk and indie acoustics and strings. Each song is like a happy little daydream that makes you feel like you’re on acid, which makes sense since the band was severely high for the entirety of writing it. Nevertheless it is a genius album that showed off the complexities the band worked well with.

Though after this joyride for the band, things started to go downhill. Lead songwriter Ross and bassist Walker left after creative differences, leaving Smith as the last founding member along with original member Urie. Urie and Smith went on to continue music under the Panic! At The Disco name and released the album “Vices & Virtues” in 2011. This album had some hints of the band’s past since some ideas did stem from Ross, but this one also included a new flair that will eventually consume any of Panic!’s past. This flair included more pop influences and an influx of range ability from Urie. It wasn’t bad at the time and made songs like “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” and “The Calendar” stand out.

By this time, no one had any bad blood with Urie and most fans were happy that he was continuing the project. Then some concern set in when “Too Weird To Live Too Rare To Die” came out in 2013. This album is so dream-like but filled with gritty lyrics that bring the listener back to life despite the ethereal sound. At this time Urie and Smith were still writing the music for the band but they had added on touring bassist Dallon Weekes from The Brobecks as a full-time member. Weekes contributed heavily to the album though most of the credit for the album was taken by Urie, especially after Smith left the band to be treated in rehab. Part of the reason this is such an issue is because it causes music to send mixed messages.

Brendon Urie ends Panic! At The Disco after 20 years in his greatest career decision (2)

For instance, one of Panic! At The Disco’s most popular songs is titled “Girls/Girls/Boys” which quickly became a LGBTQIA+ anthem due to its queer-coded lyrics. The song was written by Weekes about his wife coming to terms with bisexuality, specifically the lyric, “Love is not a choice.” But Urie shifted this entire narrative when he stated in an interview that he wrote the song about his first threesome. Taking a beautiful song that was supposed to empower the queer community and instead sexualized women-on-women relationships.

This should’ve been the first hint for fans that the Panic! At The Disco they used to know was long gone but some kept hope even when Urie demoted Weekes to a touring-member before releasing another album. This album would be Urie’s first “solo album” even though he still insisted that Panic! was a band (even placing the albums in band categories at award shows despite Urie being the only member). “Death Of A Bachelor” wasn’t a terrible start to Urie being the only musical creator. While the album was flashier and mainstream-pop influenced to hell, it wasn’t as bad as what was to follow. Though it did chase away Weekes when he completely left the band in 2017.

After general success with the new album, Urie continued to create music under the Panic! At The Disco name. However, there is no way I would ever associate the name Panic! At The Disco with the monstrosities that followed.

To put it simply, “Pray For The Wicked” and “Viva Las Vengeance” are two of the worst put together albums to ever be created. They’re disjointed, filled with try-hard notes from Urie which he can no longer hit. The big band sound that follows every single song makes them all sound the same. The old diversity and uniqueness that Panic! At The Disco carried have gone and instead are replaced with mainstream ideals. I won’t get too far into what makes these albums so bad but if you don’t believe me, just go listen to them for yourself.

So after nearly a 20 year run, Panic! At The Disco is no more and after the track record Urie has with music, that’s for the best. But my main reason why this end was a good career decision for Urie is not because of his music decline but because of his personal decline.

Urie was beloved by so many in the pop-punk community, especially with My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and even Twenty One Pilots all being interconnected. He had a quirky, fun attitude and he was always honest with his fans. Though this was all pushed through a lens for fans to see.

Brendon Urie ends Panic! At The Disco after 20 years in his greatest career decision (3)

A lot of people were keeping quiet for a long time about things Urie had done and now much of it is out in the open. Between saying slurs on multiple occasions, mistreating fellow coworkers, not speaking up on assault allegations, Urie had a lot weighing his reputation down. While he tried to hide most of this behind his personality and music, it all eventually came out and spilled into the internet. There is a lot to unpack when it comes to these situations and you can find a lot of the information in different fan forums with specific quotes from Urie.

It’s a lot to learn that the man you looked up to for most of your teenage years turned out to be a not-so-great person. I used to look up to Urie and admire him as an artist. Now I can’t even stand to hear his voice knowing what he has done to those close to him and to his fans.

So fast forward to 2023, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Paramore are flourishing better than ever and Panic! At The Disco is over. Urie is starting a family and focusing on his personal life and perhaps it is for the best. No longer will Ross and other Panic! members be plagued by the new music pushed out under the same name. No longer will there be a toxic presence in the music industry (well at least one less toxic presence). And best of all, no longer will we have to bear the ridiculously screechy live vocals of Brendon Urie.

Brendon Urie ends Panic! At The Disco after 20 years in his greatest career decision (2024)
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