With Pray for the Wicked only two days away, how could we really be asking for anymore from Panic! At the Disco? Yet, fans have shown a growing displeasure (mixed with unwavering support of course) concerning a certain single that has been teased on not one but two separate occasions. Arguably the one that started it all, ‘King of the Clouds’ was first presented to fans as an orchestral piece during the video posted to Panic’s Instagram of Brendon Urie brushing his teeth and the beginning of months of teasers, cryptic messages and, of course, mystery potatoes. Next saw the chorus of the song being teased at the end of a video compilation of all of Panic’s pop up shows, and I know for a fact the teaser has been relentlessly playing inside my head ever since. Whilst ‘High Hopes’ was a gift we weren’t even aware we wanted, ‘King of the Clouds’ has been in high demand and after the song was dropped without any warning on Monday, it’s obvious it was worth the wait.
Listen to ‘King of the Clouds’ and watch the beautiful animated lyric video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i7hIUegbQs
Whilst still sharing similar elements to Death of a Bachelor, ‘King of the Clouds’ is a further step away than previous singles have been (‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’, ‘Say Amen (Saturday Night)’, ‘High Hopes’), adding more layers to Pray for the Wicked than we could have hoped for. The beginning of the song is instantly captivating by having no instrumental intro but launching directly into the lyrics and putting a focus on them throughout. ‘King of the Clouds’ is laced with an infectious R&B rhythm that keeps the song more mellow than others like ‘High Hopes’ but still manages to deliver a stellar chorus that catapults you into the stratosphere. Brendon’s vocals are perfectly balanced throughout, keeping things at a lower pitch during the verses before bursting into the chorus and giving it everything he’s got with those iconic falsetto tones.
Upon my first listen of ‘King of the Clouds’, I couldn’t shake the niggling feeling that it evokes a similar vibe to ‘Nine in the Afternoon’ (from the band’s second studio album, Pretty. Odd) despite sounding nothing like it. However, after finding out how the song came to be the vibe makes a little more sense. Whilst the lyrics sing something of a philosophical nature, Brendon revealed in an interview with Beats 1 Radio that they are simply a compromise of his weed induced ramblings. Now, not only is the song a pure tune but it is endearing by how honest and uncensored the lyrics are. It almost hurts to know that ‘King of the Clouds’ nearly never was due to deadline issues but fans can thank whatever powers that be (or just Brendon) that the song was completed and skimmed on none of it’s beauty.
Whether ‘King of the Clouds’ is a thoughtful exploration into interdimensional travel and multiverses, a stoner anthem or both, it’s a hypnotic dream given voice that has the power to sway anyone even if they are not a Panic fan.
Pray for the Wicked will be available in full June 22nd
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Review by Skye W.Winwood