Death of A Bachelor: Jitters

Alright, Alright.
I might be a tad bit obsessed with Panic! At the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor Album. Only a little, mind you because it’s not like I’ve listened to it for hours on repeat. It’s not like I sometimes catch myself humming it while on the road or at school during class. It’s not like I haven’t been quoting it everywhere waiting for someone to get one of the references. Nope. Not at all.
It’s a hell of a feeling, though.

 

 

But this album is so very Panic! Who else could have written the line “Every night in my dreams, you walk on a tightrope of weird.” [Crazy=Genius]
But at the same time, you can see that Brendon Urie’s done some growing up. In his eventful life, he’s regretted some of the stuff he’s done. Urie’s told fans over and over again that he regretted the I write sins, not tragedies video but it’s the first time he’s immortalised his feelings in song:  “You shoulda seen what I wore/ I had a cane and a party hat.” [Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time]

As always, Panic! at the Disco’s lyrics are so weird, I’m completely befuddled. Is he trying to call up the imagery of drunken revelrey in Las Vegas with “I lost a bet to a guy in a Chiffon skirt/ But I make these high heels work”  or is there some deeper meaning. We will probably never know.

But I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the title track. Yep, Death of a Bachelor. It’s significantly slower than the other songs and I think so far, it’s the only music video in this album in black and white.

While there are a lot of songs in this album which directly refer to the craziness of his wild days, like La Devotee, Victorious and The Good, the Bad and the Dirty and another several which refer to making new memories like House of Memories and Golden Days,  I think Death of a Bachelor is the one that is most obviously reconciling the two.

He refers to a change that’s already happened with the lines “People have told me I don’t look the same” while the song in itself refers to the change marriage brings to a bachelor’s lifestyle.

This song is interesting because it has all sorts of implications tangled up in it.  A major part of the chorus: “A lifetime of laughter at the expense of the death of a bachelor.” very clearly states that sacrifices have to be made. Taken literally, somebody else needs to die  for a person to be happy.  That has all sorts of ethical connotations to it. For example, is it okay for one person (the bachelor) to die so that two people (the married couple) can live happily. Society would have us believe so.

Even if we take it as a metaphor for two aspects of a person like we’re probably supposed to as evidenced by “I’m cutting my mind off/ It feels like my heart is going to burst”, Brendan’s still literally talking about suppressing a part of his personality. That’s horrible and honestly it makes me very afraid of marriage.

Image result for death of a bachelorThis song is very much a groom’s pre-wedding jitters. What else could it be with all the references to thinking as you drink, veils strangling people to death and being pushed off a cliff. But at the same time it’s a very deep, metaphor for society’s rigid expectation that you actively change your personality every time you enter a new phase of your life.

As someone who has a bunch of friends who will be heading off to college in a few months, this is an unnerving thought. If you’re heading off to college soon or making some other massive life change, I just want to remind you that you are not compelled to change. It’s true that nothing in life is constant but change, but don’t feel pressured to change yourself. You do not need to be more mature, more grown-up, more patient, more understanding right away.
There’s a learning curve to change and no one expects you to be a perfect adult who’s in total control of your life the day you turn 18.  If it happens, let it happen. If it doesn’t happen, don’t force it.

Break Up (I’m a different person today than I was 3 years ago- and that’s okay)

A week ago, I opened a Rick Riordan book (Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer) and waited for the magic to happen. I waited to be carried away to another world where myth and modern-day reality inter-twined and teenagers could be badass. I flipped through first one page, and then another, anticipating the moment I would be hooked, addicted.

But I made my way to page 20, to page 50, page 103 and I felt…nothing.  For the first time,Rick Riordan’s books didn’t completely captivate me.  I felt that the humor was trying too hard (and failing even harder). Instead of suppressing snorts and giggles, I was trying not to roll my eyes. Instead of  empathizing with the main character, I wanted to shake him. I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and tell him to make up his mind: “Do you want to have a pity party or do you want to be glib?”  By the time the love interest arrived on the scene, I was frustrated by the cliches. Sure, let’s have the beautiful girl be violent for no reason- teenage girls everywhere will finally have a positive role-model to emulate and teen-boys will learn to fantasize about “real” women.

I closed the book. I got to a point where I had to say stop.

And do you know how that made me feel? I felt terrible. Disloyal- like a shitty friend.
I felt old and out of touch, like I couldn’t empathize with teenagers any more. This despite the fact that I’m sixTEEN! (and think nothing of randomly capitalising words).

I stewed over it for a while. Was I moving out of my childhood, to become ‘mature’? Was I becoming elitist and snobby? Becoming choosy with my books?

Today I finally managed to kick myself out of my funk. I read books for enjoyment, I told myself. I do it because I love being sucked into new worlds and caring about characters.
There’s nothing to be ashamed about.
So, I shouldn’t feel guilty for failing to be sucked in. It’s not my fault and I’m not hurting anyone by doing it. If nobody’s blaming me, I don’t need to blame myself.

I don’t care if I sound like a cliche: I’m growing up and I’m moving on. I’m not the same person today that I was three years ago when I opened up the Lightning Thief and devoured it instantly. I’m not even the same person I was a couple of months back when I cried when Blood of Olympus was released.

Does that mean I think Rick Riordan is an idiot and his ideas are pond scum? Definitely not. Uncle Rick got me interested in Greek Mythology. His books were an instrumental part of my early teens as I bonded with friends over them and secretly wrote PJO fanfiction. In fact, it’s because I respect him and his writing style so much that I will probably never open another Rick Riordan book.
I don’t want to remember slogging through his books, forcing myself to like them and hating myself when I didn’t. I’d rather have the happy nostalgia of fond memories from his first few books.

It sounds like the end of a relationship, doesn’t it? With lame excuses on one side and heartbreak on the other. But it’s not like that. It’s not like that at all. Uncle Rick’s franchise is stronger than it has ever been before. If the PJO fandom is sad about my departure, it’s secure in the knowledge that there are a million teens and pre-teens out there willing to love it.  And I’m not hesitant about my decision. I can’t afford to be because there are a million books out there waiting for my love.

I could hang around, trying to ‘make things work’. But it wouldn’t be good for me, and I respect myself. I’m in a more insightful place today than I was a week ago, and I can finally appreciate this quote:

“Just because I liked something at one point in time doesn’t mean I’ll always like it, or that I have to go on liking it at all points in time as an unthinking act of loyalty to who I am as a person, based solely on who I was as a person. To be loyal to myself is to allow myself to grow and change, and challenge who I am and what I think. The only thing I am for sure is unsure, and this means I’m growing, and not stagnant or shrinking.”

-Jarod Kintz