With the long-awaited release of the new super-villain blockbuster, Suicide Squad, (in theatre’s: August 5, 2016), comes another highly anticipated release; a studio version of the critically acclaimed “Bohemian Rhapsody,” originally by Queen, yet this time a cover, by the pop-rock band, Panic! At This Disco. This studio version has been wished for by a vast majority of the band’s fans ever since they first performed a cover live back in approximately 2014, and has since added it to the setlist of almost all their large performances to date. The studio version premiered on Beats1 by Apple Music, on August 4, 2016.
As a live version, fans were amazed at how astounding the cover was, which is largely due to vocalist (and sole remaining member), Brendon Urie, who has a vocal range compared to that of Frank Sinatra in many songs. Fans, however, seemed disappointed when the soundtrack for Suicide Squad was released on August 5, 2016, which contains the first ever released studio version of P!ATD’s cover of the historical song. Fans were used to the falsettos and dramatic vocals that Urie presented on stage, which reflected the original vocals of Freddie Mercury. This studio version, however, (unlike the live performances), features a more produced and electronically worked intro and vocals throughout the song. At some instances throughout the song, Urie’s vocals are above that of a whisper and the vocals seem to be strained, which is quite different from anything that P!ATD has done on any other studio track. However, with the release of Death Of A Bachelor, (the band’s fifth studio album released on January 15, 2016), Grammy-nominated producer, Jake Sinclair, who assisted on the production of the album, conducted an interview with Alternative Press in the January 2016 issue, (#330.2) in which he stated that during the recording process for the album, Urie, “…purposely tracked vocals parts that fell outside of his range, pushing his upper register…” So while this new recording of a beloved live song might not sound exactly as it has in the past, it could just be the broadening of Urie’s vocal range yet again. With that being said, many of those falsettos are still in the studio version of the song and are thus prominently featured. Throughout the song, the musical elements keep quite true to both the original song and the live shows, yet also adding in the twist of this new version.
Suicide Squad is a film encompassing some of the most notorious comic-book villains, and how they are persuaded into putting their ‘skills’ to serve the greater good. As we saw from the June 21, 2016, release from fellow soundtrack headliner, Twenty One Pilots, and their song “Heathens,” the soundtrack seemed to be holding a dark and mysterious atmosphere, which reflected all that was seen from the trailers and spoilers that had surfaced for the film at that point in time. “Heathens” is a direct representation of the villains in the film and how none of them fit into that spectrum of ‘normal’ and, with Twenty One Pilots’ alternative style, they were able to fully encompass that feeling through the whole song. Not many people looked at “Heathens” with such a heavy microscopic eye as they are for “Bohemian Rhapsody” though, and that could be why it has received more criticism. Throughout the song, there are moments of the same twisted dark turn that the movie has projected, which serves to show that the new cover is focusing more on the integrity of keeping true to the movie, rather than that of the live version which fans were hoping to receive.
Although this cover is different from what most were expecting, it still has proven to show the difference that Panic! At The Disco is willing to incorporate into their musical stylings, in order to “shake it up…”
Alyssa (Rolling Music Reviews)