Chris Willman
October 06, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

As a genre, emo can definitely blow big crybaby chunks. Panic! At the Disco are an exception. Like their Vegas hometown, they’re great at selling glitz, good times, and disposability — to the tune of 1.2 million copies, and 43 triumphant weeks on the Billboard chart. For us, the appeal is in their catchy-as-heck pop punchiness, free-associative lyrics, and video-circus showmanship. Sure, they’re barely past high school, and they do need time to grow musically. But we’re not looking for another Bob Dylan. What’s wrong with having fun?

Panic attacks and disco: two things that are way more fun than Panic! At the Disco. Rock fans are starved for anything remotely smart, which is why Brendon Urie’s verbal gushing gets mistaken for cleverness. But he’s so besotted with the sound of his own whine, he can’t bother editing the hundreds of words spilling out of his mouth to match the band’s train-wreck rhythms. Rarely is music this exhausting and lazy. Emo could use their arch humor, but these frantic fops desperately need lessons from Morrissey in how to develop a funny song title into a legitimate song.

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