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The members of Panic! At the Disco had barely graduated high school when they made their music debut with A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. The record transformed the suburban Las Vegas teens of 2005 into national emo-pop stars. Now, the band has returned with a mature sound and a spirited, new single.
“High Hopes” is an upbeat, alt-rock track that has lead vocalist and band leader Brendon Urie in full stadium mode, belting catchy hooks over grooves of synth-strings that sit somewhere between new age rock and electronica.
The track follows the previously released singles “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” and “(Fuck A) Silver Lining” from the band’s forthcoming album Pray for the Wicked. “High Hopes” will be featured in the National Hockey League’s promotional campaign for the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals and is fitting choice given its motivational message.
The song opens with a blaring brass section with Urie’s sharp vocals joining classical strings for an uplifting chorus: “Had to have high high hopes for a living / Didn’t know how but I always had a feeling / I was gonna be that one in a million / Always had high high hopes.” The song’s message is about relentlessly working towards a dream and never losing hope that the vision can be attained.
The aspirational lyrics are coupled with punchy horns, strings, and rolling musical drops that sound vastly different from what you might remember of the early Panic! At the Disco days. Gone are their relentless punk-rock jams, substituted for a more grown-up, brassy bombast vibe like that of 2008’s Pretty Odd. But genre bending has always been a trademark of the group, as their sound has notably shifted with every album.
I spent too long not setting my expectations high enough, worried about how it felt to fail. I hit a point when I realized I had to aim high and fail, fail, fail in order to keep growing. This one is for all of you who helped me go for it all. I thank you.
— Panic! At The Disco (@PanicAtTheDisco) May 23, 2018
Pray For the Wicked—which is set to be released June 22—will be the Nevada-bred band’s sixth studio album. The new LP follows 2016’s Death of a Bachelor, which debuted at No. 1 in the U.S., and earned the group a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album.
Panic! At the Disco will embark on a North American Tour this summer in support of the new record and includes two Canadian stops taking place in Toronto on July 22 and Vancouver on August 11.