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Illumination of Music: Emperor's New Clothes by Panic! at the Disco
We open up with where "This Is Gospel" left off; Brendon Urie being tied down and inspected by surgeons on a medical table and being trapped in a box which is being filled with water, before breaking free and running into white light. The whole song had reoccurring lyrics regarding how Brendon wants to be free of something, and how he fears that he is "falling apart." In the end, Brendon dies on the operating table but he finally breaks free of the ropes that bind him. Then after that, the band sort of fell down for a while. They were not as popular as they used to be. Maybe he wanted to be free of the music industry. But lo and behold he comes back later as the leading creative force of the band with their album Death of a Bachelor, and releases a sequel to the song called Emperor's New Clothes, based on the popular short story.
The video then proceeds to show Brendon walking into a white light. His eyes look up in wonder at something off screen as we hear a gate open. He slowly forms a smile as he gazes up at the unseen thing. It seems that he finally got what he wanted. He is in Heaven, at peace. But it was to good to be true. We hear a trapdoor open and the sound of maniacal laughter as the song starts as Brendon falls through a dark hole. When he reaches the bottom we see that he is in what appears to be a dark boneyard. His first line welcomes you to the end of eras. End of the world.
As Brendon slowly realizes what has happened, his body begins transforming. His skin turns blue, his bones contract, his face starts shape shifting, and he grows a pair of horns similar to the Greek god Pan, who has become the modern image of the devil.
His body is still transforming throughout the song as he then begins to rant about how he is going to get the best things in life and how he is going to be on top. He then asks you to, "Snatch your chain and mace your eyes." He becomes increasingly hedonistic as he says, "If it feels good, tastes good, It must be mine." Not only is he sporting a demonic image, he is promoting a finders keepers, losers weepers attitude (actual lyrics) and making it seem like life is all about getting what you want no matter what, even if it ends up making you the bad guy.
We then shift to three skulls singing about mortal kings and ruling castles. About how while they are egotistical, all of them end up dead soon. I think Brendon recognizes this. No matter how big he gets he is going to end up dead someday. This is just a temporary position for him. So he is going to have lots of “fun” conquering these “kings”. Then it talks about liars settling into sockets, but if you flip the switch they will run.
"Deceitful ones will hide into electrical sockets, or holes where people can’t see them/what they’ve done, but as soon as danger comes (i.e. electricity from an On switch), they run away as they don’t want to face punishment."
Sockets could also be about those who trust the liars (plugs) in the first place. When the switch is flipped (people learning the truth and turn on them), they run away.
Brendon's transformation is complete, sprouting wings and his eyes become a glowing yellow. He sings the chorus one final time before another gate opens, this time showing a red light and the constant agonized screams of the damned. He looks at the gate, and smiles.
On one hand it supports the false ideas that Satan is a fallen angel that rules over Hell. That is nowhere in scripture. That is the result of pagan influences.
This song supports a hedonistic lifestyle at the expense of others. No matter what, Brendon just wants to be on the top above everyone else. In the chorus he gives a reference to the title, saying he knows he is "naked" just like the Emperor. He recognizes what he is doing, and still he is okay with being praised for it. Even at the cost of eternal life, he pursued his hedonistic lifestyle.
If you watch "This Is Gospel", you see that Brendon is trying his best to be free from the doctors, who are clearly trying to kill him. Why? Because he regrets what is going on. He realizes that the music industry is tearing away at his soul and that it's not worth the price. So he does what he can to get out, but it seems like he can't get out of it. Even in death.
If you read the short story of the same title, it's about two designers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that are invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. But in reality he is completely naked, unbeknownst to him. When the Emperor goes before his people, no one says anything because they fear that they will be seen as one of the things above. Think about that. The Emperor is oblivious to the fact that he is naked, everyone else sees it, but they're too scared to say anything. But Brendon acknowledges his actions. He knows that he is "naked", because everyone can see that he is taking a turn down a dark path. And maybe his fans are too scared too say anything about it. He had this to say about the chorus of a song in the same album called Hallelujah, where he talks about sinners.
"There’s a little tagline in there that I throw out to our fans, I like to call them my sinners, and I’m a fellow sinner, and so I think that’s a special little throw-out to them."
It makes sin seem like an endless cycle. Like it cannot truly be defeated and you just have to learn to accept it. Brendon did the best he could to escape his sins, but then he fell. So he decided to embrace the darkness, becoming the darkness itself. But what does scripture say?
Do you have any interpretations of the song? Please leave a comment below and tell me what you think.
Peace and all praises to the Most High.