Panic! at the Disco have been through a lot in its near-decade of existence: lineup changes, ups and downs in popularity, and fluctuating usage of the exclamation point in their band name. For new album "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" -- which debuts at No. 2 on this week's Billboard 200 chart -- the famous punctuation mark is most definitely employed, both in the band's name and in the hard-hitting songs themselves, which borrow from pop, pop-punk, and, yes, hip-hop.
"There's definitely a lot of hip-hop influence in this record," frontman Brendon Urie declared while visiting the Billboard studio for an interview and performance session. "Artists like A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar -- their production, their lyrical style, just the way they go about making the music -- is really inspiring, and I wanted to mimic that in a way. A song like 'Miss Jackson' is definitely more of a hip-hop vibe. I love that that was the first single choice."
Urie dug deep for inspiration for the album's second single, "This Is Gospel," singing about close friend (and Panic! drummer) Spencer Smith, who had been struggling with addiction. On the song's inspiration, Urie says:
"I was really on edge and anxious about where the future of the band was going, the future of our friendship in general. With him and his health I was really scared of what was going to happen. When I wrote that song I was mad -- mad at myself and mad at him. Like, 'Why can't i do something to fix this? What is wrong with me? What's wrong with you?'"
In the studio, Panic! captured a magic fans won't find on their album recordings -- check out their performance of "This Is Gospel" here:
After trekking through Europe for the rest of 2013, they'll head out on a North American headlining tour in January. Click here for all of those dates.