Panic At The Disco - 'Nine In The Afternoon'
I have a really old iPod. It's one of those pre-colour, greyscreen, no-video jobs with actual buttons above the datawheel and a battery which struggles to last more than a couple of hours. It's so old, in fact, that it still has the ! in Panic At The Disco's name. I mean there's old, there's vintage, and then there's just plain out of touch with what is going on...and then there's my iPod.
It also has a selection of songs from the pre-post-exclamation Panic - when they were still Panic!, you see - all of which serve as a reminder of why it's such a good idea that this band have evolved with time. They always had good imaginations, what with all the dressing up, swapping instruments and generally acting like the entire world of music is their plaything, rather than the tiny little corner with the 'guitars only!' sign, as occupied by some of their peers.
But they also used to try and make things fit into spaces where they should not go. Words, mainly. Words like "poison rationality", shoehorned into a melody which served them poorly, and didn't really fit the music, and made Brandon Disco sound like a tickled sheep.
Now they're back, and there's a new confidence to their songwriting. This song has a proper pop momentum, bouyed up by singalong, woozy mock-psychedelic Alice In Wonderland lyrics, Queen-ish guitar riffs and baroque, Beatley orchestral touches. Finally those brains are being put to good use!
Oh, and they also do that brilliant thing that bands do when they're overdubbing handclaps onto a song. After the job of clapping in time is over, they burst into a round of applause. I've no idea why this should be a brilliant thing instead of an annoyingly self-congratulatory thing, but it really is. Listen to the end of 'Whatever' by Oasis or 'The Gutterati' by the Fratellis if you don't believe me. It just works, every time.
Which is, coincidentally, the exact reason why I'm sticking with my iPod. I don't know why it still works, but I'm awfully glad it does.
PS: Mixtape Maestro has already called any comparisons between this song and Queen or the Beatles "tiresome". Bah! Rumbled!