Sorry I missed last week’s Emo Wednesday. It was a busy week, and I was going to share a guest post from fellow emo superfan Nate Little, but I even got sidetracked on that. So we’re back this week (just barely) with one of my favorite bands of all time.

I couldn’t tell you the entire name of this song if I tried.

I can get to “The Only Difference,” and that’s it. My friend Maia could tell you off the top of her head that it’s “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage,” but she’s also an incredible student of all her interests, Panic! At The Disco especially.

I had never before and have never since been part of a musical phenomenon like when Panic burst onto the emo scene in 2005. The moment that “The Only Difference” dropped on the radio (yes, that was still a thing), it’s safe to say that everyone who heard it knew they were privy to something special.

It was emo, but it was flashy and theatrical like emo never was. It didn’t even have a music video or it would have dominated MTV2 and maybe even TRL. Okay maybe not TRL.

It didn’t matter. Fans heard it and became instant converts, me included.

Sit tight, I’m gonna need you to keep time
C’mon, just snap, snap, snap your fingers for me
Good, good, now we’re making some progress
Come on just tap, tap, tap your toes to the beat

The song starts out fast and with very specific instructions to listeners — sti tight, keep time, snap snap, tap tap. It’s like the pied piper.

And I believe
This may call for a proper introduction, and well
Don’t you see?
I’m the narrator, and this is just the prologue

This is the first (full) song on the album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” and is the band’s debut, something frontman Brendon Urie points out. He’s the narrator, this is the prologue, and at this point you’re locked in for emo storytime.

And what stories they told — of pill-popping boomers, of people losing themselves to medication, of infidelity revealed on the wedding day and more. Given the usual tripe emo bands would sing about, this was an incredible leap to something greater.

Swear to shake it up, and you swear to listen
Oh, we’re still so young, desperate for attention
I aim to be, your eyes, trophy boys, trophy wives

They swore to shake it up, we swore to listen. It didn’t matter how on the nose meta the lyrics were — we ate them up and asked for more. Of course, we didn’t get more for three years until “Pretty. Odd” came out. The funny thing is, the hits from “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” remained radio mainstays for those three years and have stayed there till today while “Nine in the Afternoon” is probably the extent to which anyone remembers “Pretty. Odd.”

It’s clear there were creative differences among the band members, as evidenced by their split not long after “Pretty. Odd” came out. But no one can take away from the enduring legacy “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” has and the craze that started it all. It wasn’t the biggest craze, but it was my craze, and I still swear to listen if they swear to shake it up.

Except to that TSwift song Brendon Urie is featured on. I will NOT swear to listen to that.

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