Panic! At The Disco’s first album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out came out way back when I was in college, and I had never heard anything like it. A strange but highly-addictive mix of rock, punk, electronica and cabaret, this 2005 release was incredible to me, as well as to the rest of the Alternative Press-reading crowd. It enjoyed relentless plays on my iPod, and I loved the record from front to back. Guitarist Ryan Ross’s clever and sarcastic lyrics were delivered perfectly by lead singer Brendan Urie, whose voice sounded eerily like that of Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, so much so that when I heard Panic’s first single, I thought they WERE Fall Out Boy.
Is it still me that makes you sweat?
Am I who you think about in bed?
When the lights are dim and your hands are shaking as you’re sliding off your dress?
Then think of what you did
And how I hope to God he was worth it.
When the lights are dim and your heart is racing as your fingers touch his skin.
The band’s song “Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off,” the title of which is taken from a line spoken by Natalie Portman in the movie Closer, is a song about teen sex that toes the impossibly fine line between cockiness and raging insecurity. The song starts out with an interrogation by the character of his former lover’s sex life with her new partner. The questions are self-absorbed, voyeuristic and laden with jealousy.
I’ve got more wit, a better kiss, a hotter touch, a better fuck
Than any boy you’ll ever meet, sweetie you had me
Girl I was it, look past the sweat, a better love deserving of
Exchanging body heat in the passenger seat
No, no, no, you know it will always just be me
The next part of the verse is where things get truly heavy, as the unbridled jealousy sets in. The line “I’ve got more wit, a better kiss, a hotter touch, a better fuck than any boy you’ll ever meet, sweetie you had me” gives you a direct glimpse into the jealous mind of this jilted teenage boy whose former girlfriend has found someone else. The problem doesn’t seem to be the love that he lost, but really just the sex, which he insists that with him must be better than it ever could be with anyone else.
Let’s get these teen hearts beating faster, faster
So testosterone boys and harlequin girls,
Will you dance to this beat, and hold a lover close?
The chorus goes on to essentially advocate teen sex, because, well, teenagers are going to do it anyway. The lines encourage “testosterone boys” and “harlequin girls” to dance to the song and hold their lovers close, as their teen hearts beat faster and faster. It seems as if the character is saying “Well, if I’m not having it, someone should.” Duly noted.
So I guess we’re back to us, oh cameraman, swing the focus
In case I lost my train of thought, where was it that we last left off?
(Let’s pick up and go)
Oh now I do recall, we were just getting to the part
Where the shock sets in, and the stomach acid finds a new way to make you get sick.
I hope you didn’t expect to get all of the attention.
Now let’s not get selfish
Did you really think I’d let you kill this chorus?
In a very self-aware manner, the song turns back to the issue originally at hand, asking the “cameraman” to “swing the focus.” Momentarily forgetting was he was talking about, the singer suddenly remembers the furious jealousy he feels, and once again targets the girl who moved on to greener pastures. Quickly, however, with the line “I hope you didn’t expect to get all of the attention, now lets not get selfish, did you really think I’d let you kill this chorus?”, he gets back to encouraging hormonal teens to roll in the hay.
The song’s verses are characterized by a moody, almost creepy bass and keyboard combination and then the music explodes into a much louder, guitar-driven sound during the choruses. That sort of interplay makes sense with a song like this, with a more subdued sound surrounding such voyeuristic lyrics, and a fast-paced, amplified sound during the choruses which speak of the relentlessness of sex-crazed beating hearts and teenage hormones.
This song is one of the highlights of this monster album, is cleverly-written both musically and lyrically, and outlines the chaotic feelings of lost love and that sting you feel when you are no longer having the mind-blowing sex you were enjoying.
This ends another edition of “For Unlawful Carnal Composition” at The No Seatbelt Blog. Come back next week for another analysis of a song about sex! In the meantime, check out the rest of what this blog has to offer- words on movies, music, beer, toys, and much more!