Hall of Fame: Time to dance: Looking back on Panic! At The Disco’s ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’

Mixing reality-bites with the hazy neon lights of escapism, four Las Vegas teenagers accidentally started a revolution with their debut.

‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ might remind you of teenage romance, getting drunk on park benches and feeling invincible. It might have changed your life. You’re not alone. It’s a record that defined a generation. Panic! At The Disco captured a digital moment on Polaroid and framed it for the world to treasure. They did all this without meaning to; they’re revolutionaries but in reality, they were just four kids from Las Vegas, making the music they wanted to hear in a shitty practice space. From there, they went on to change the world.

Split into two halves, one doused in electronics and city lights, the other swaying with an oh-so-classical style, the band’s debut worked so well because it was never trying to be jarring. It was just everything they enjoyed, all on one record. Unaware that the world at large said you shouldn’t mix dance beats with Vaudevillian piano, this foursome knuckled down and did their own thing.

Energetic yet emotional, the lyrics sang of adultery, decadence and Chuck Palahniuk novels. It felt like a secret to be shared, but only amongst those you trusted most. With its devil-may-care attitude, raising an arm and yelling ‘do whatever you want’, ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’’s encouraging anthems of self-acceptance sat alongside the neon-soaked escape it so readily offered.

‘But It’s Better If You Do’

The reaction to the record snowballed. Just thirteen months after it was released, Panic! found themselves headlining London’s Brixton Academy four times in the same week. Later that year they returned to America for an arena tour with bells, whistles, ribbon dancers and contortionists. Ten years on, the album’s shifted over two million copies in the US.

That momentum’s still going, too. Brendon Urie may be the last man standing, but a Number One album earlier this year with ‘Death of a Bachelor’ shows that not only do people still vaguely care about Panic!, they’re listening intently. The band, with their two-fingered attitude to rock, have helped blaze a trail for the likes of PVRIS, Twenty One Pilots and letlive. to find space in 2016. The wild genre-swinging, bold theatrics and clear-cut vision of those groups are strongly theirs, but without Panic! At The Disco knocking down that (god damn) door, they might still be left out in the cold.

Catch up with all DIY’s Hall Of Fame coverage.
Taken from the October 2016 issue of DIY, out now. Subscribe below.

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