A Fever You Can't Sweat Out

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A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
Studio album by Panic! at the Disco
Released September 27, 2005 (2005-09-27)
Recorded June–September 2005 at SOMD! Studios, College Park, Maryland, and Darn! Studios, Lewisville, Texas
Length 40:15
Producer Matt Squire, Panic! at the Disco
Panic! at the Disco chronology
A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
Pretty. Odd.
Singles from
A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
  1. "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage"
    Released: September 27, 2005 (2005-09-27)
  2. "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
    Released: February 27, 2006 (2006-02-27)
  3. "But It's Better If You Do"
    Released: May 16, 2006 (2006-05-16)
  4. "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off"
    Released: August 7, 2006 (2006-08-07)
  5. "Build God, Then We'll Talk"
    Released: March 26, 2007 (2007-03-26)

A Fever You Can't Sweat Out is the first studio album by the American rock band Panic! at the Disco. Recorded primarily at SOMD! Studios in College Park, Maryland, with the producer Matt Squire, the album was released on September 27, 2005, on Decaydance and Fueled by Ramen. Pete Wentz had discovered and signed the young band the year before, providing them with resources to make the album.

Written and produced during and shortly after the band's graduation from high school, the album was recorded during a short time frame which left them exhausted. With lyrics written by Ryan Ross, Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith, the record covers social issues and topics such as sanctity of marriage, adultery, mental health, alcoholism and prostitution are woven throughout the album.

Bolstered by the top 10 single "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies", as well as "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage", the album peaked at No. 13 on the US Billboard 200, spending 66 weeks on the chart. The album received polarizing critical reviews, with many professional music critics appreciating the fun and catchy atmosphere, while other reviewers differed in their opinions on the originality and sincerity of the record. The album has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the shipment of one million copies. It is by far Panic! at the Disco's most successful release, having sold over 1.8 million copies in the US by 2011 according to Billboard,[7] and over 2.2 million copies worldwide.[8]


The band was formed in 2004 in the suburban area of Summerlin, Las Vegas, by childhood friends Ryan Ross on guitar and Spencer Smith on drums. Both teens attended Bishop Gorman High School and they began playing music together in ninth grade. They invited their friend Brent Wilson from nearby Palo Verde High School to join on bass guitar, and Wilson invited his classmate Brendon Urie to try out on guitar.[9] They soon began rehearsing in Smith's grandmother's living room.[10] Urie grew up in a Mormon family in Las Vegas and early on skipped rehearsals to go to church.[11] Ross initially was the lead vocalist for the group, but on hearing Urie singing backing vocals during an early rehearsal, they unanimously decided to move him to lead.[12] They initially worked purely as a Blink-182 cover band.[13]

The monotonous nature of local Las Vegas bands influenced them to be different and creative, and they soon began recording experimental demos. The band had not performed a single live show when they were signed. "We never went out and played shows before we got signed because the music scene in Las Vegas is so bad. There's not a lot going on," Smith said. "In our practice space, there were something like 30 bands, and every day we'd walk into that room and hear the exact same death-metal bands. So it kind of influenced us to be different. And to get out of Las Vegas."[14] Urie began working at Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Summerlin to afford rent for the band's new practice space.[15] The four left their education behind to concentrate on music, with Ross falling out with his father for leaving college after his first year.[10] On telling his parents of their intentions to quit high school in favor of being in a band, Urie moved out and stayed at friend's homes, eventually being able to afford a one-bedroom apartment.[16]

Former guitarist, primary composer and lyricist, Ryan Ross performing with Panic! at the Disco in 2007.

Ross and Urie soon began to record on their laptops the demos they had been developing and posted three early demos ("Time to Dance", "Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks" and "Camisado") on PureVolume.[9] On a whim, they sent a link to the Fall Out Boy bass guitarist Pete Wentz via a LiveJournal account. Wentz, who was in Los Angeles at the time with the rest of Fall Out Boy working on their first major-label album, From Under the Cork Tree, drove to Las Vegas to meet the band.[14] On hearing "two to three" songs during band practice, Wentz was impressed and immediately wanted the band to sign to his Fueled by Ramen imprint label Decaydance Records, which made them the first on the new label, which the group did around December 2004.[12] As news broke that Wentz had signed Panic! (who had yet to perform a single live show), fans on the Internet began to bash[ambiguous] the group. "Almost right away we knew what was going to happen," Ross explained in a 2006 interview. "We had two songs online and people were already making assumptions on what kind of band we were and what we were going to sound like."[17]

Meanwhile, Wentz began to publicize the band wherever possible, from wearing "Panic! at the Disco" T-shirts onstage to mentioning them in interviews. Wentz gave a quick mention to the band during a press junket on the day before the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards: "I've got a couple of bands coming out soon on Decaydance, one being this band called Panic! at the Disco," Wentz said. "Their record is going to be your next favorite record. It's called A Fever You Can't Sweat Out — get it before your little brother does."[17] At the time of their signing, all of the band members were still in high school, with the exception of Ross, who was forced to leave the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.[9]

Recording and production[edit]

The band relocated to College Park, Maryland, to record their first album beginning in June 2005. The label (Fueled by Ramen) wanted the band to go into the studio in March 2005, but Ross was attending college at UNLV and the others were still in high school. Urie graduated in May 2005 and the band pushed recording back to June; Smith and Wilson completed school online during production.[9] The band had "half of the songs" completed by the time they entered SOMD! Studios at the beginning of the summer; the rest had already been written and came together in the sessions.[12] The band was heavily inspired by music groups Third Eye Blind, Counting Crows, Arcade Fire and The Decemberists during rehearsals, and also by Danny Elfman and Jon Brion film scores.[17]

Recording was stressful. "We were in the studio for 14 hours a day for five weeks; we might have started losing our minds a little bit," Ross recalled humorously in a 2006 interview.[18] The band lived in a one-bedroom apartment during the production, with all sleeping in bunk beds. "Everyone got on everybody's nerves," said Ross. "Someone would write a new part for a song and someone else would say they didn't like it just because you ate their cereal that morning."[18]

By the end of production, the band had not had a day off and were exhausted. After its completion, "We had two weeks to come home and learn how to be a band," Ross said.[9]


The album is split in two stylistically, with tracks 1 through 7 using electronic instruments such as synthesizers and drum machines and tracks 9 through 13 using traditional instruments such as the accordion and organ. Track 8 (Intermission) is a link between the two halves, beginning with techno-style dance beats before switching to a piano interlude. On the vinyl record version of the album, side A holds songs 1–8 while side B holds songs 9–13, further highlighting the stylistic split in the album.

The album's writing is strongly influenced by Chuck Palahniuk's work. The song title "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage" is a quote from his book Survivor. "Time to Dance" tells the story of Invisible Monsters, and includes quotes such as "Give me envy, give me malice, give me your attention". Other references and quotes can be found throughout the album, such as "Just for the record, the weather today is..." (Diary).


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[19]
Drowned in Sound 6/10 stars[20]
Melodic 3/5 stars[21]
Pitchfork Media 1.5/10[22]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[23]
The Skinny 3/5 stars[24]
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5 stars[25]
Stylus Magazine D[26]

A Fever You Can't Sweat Out divided critics on its release. Pitchfork Media gave the album a negative review, giving the record a poor 1.5/10.0 rating, stating "there's no sincerity, creativity, or originality."[22] AllMusic shared some of Pitchfork's views, and gave it a modest two out of five stars.[19] However, Kerrang! was positive, awarding the record four out of five stars.[27] Rolling Stone also gave a positive review, with a three and a half stars out of five.[23] Webzines like Gigwise and Sputnikmusic also gave positive reviews.[25][28] The album was included in Rock Sound‍ '​s 101 Modern Classics list at number 16.[29]

The hit single, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies", received massive airplay and Panic! at the Disco won "Video of the Year" on the annual MTV Video Music Awards in 2006, beating fellow nominees Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Shakira and Red Hot Chili Peppers. In September 2011, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" won MTV's Best Music Video for the 2000s[30] as well as Best Music Video Of All Time based on online voting.

Deluxe edition re-issue[edit]

On November 14, 2006, the album was re-released in a "deluxe" edition, packaged in a cigar box-shaped box set. The box set was limited to 25,000 copies.[31] It included the original album on CD, a live concert titled Live in Denver on DVD, picture cards for each song with lyrics printed on individual cards, 2006 tour program, poster of the band, live photo shots, a phenakistoscope, circus-styled mask, fake newspaper article and a blank notebook. The Live in Denver DVD was filmed in Denver on July 22, 2006.[32]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ryan Ross, Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith[33]

No. Title Length
1. "Introduction" (instrumental) 0:37
2. "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage"   2:57
3. "London Beckoned Songs About Money Written by Machines"   3:23
4. "Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks"   3:24
5. "Camisado"   3:11
6. "Time to Dance"   3:22
7. "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off"   3:20
8. "Intermission" (instrumental) 2:35
9. "But It's Better If You Do"   3:25
10. "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"   3:06
11. "I Constantly Thank God for Esteban"   3:30
12. "There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought of It Yet"   3:16
13. "Build God, Then We'll Talk"   3:40
Total length:


Chart (2006) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[34] 11
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[35] 37
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[36] 43
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[37] 19
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[38] 41
German Albums (Official Top 100)[39] 98
Irish Albums (IRMA)[40] 59
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[41] 37
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[42] 7
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[43] 26
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[44] 63
UK Albums (OCC)[45] 17
US Billboard 200[46] 13


Credits for A Fever You Can't Sweat Out adapted from AllMusic.[47]



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External links[edit]