Panic! At The Disco - I Write Sins Not Tragedies Analysis
Panic! At the
Disco – I Write
This video is ultimately a narrative clip, however there is a performance element
to it as the lead singer, Brendon Urie, lip syncs the words while being the Ring
Master in the narrative.
The video follows the story of a wedding. The Ring Master intrudes on the wedding
rather intrusively. Then the grooms family intrusively enter the wedding room. The
bride’s family are shown with eyes painted on their eye lids. The bride leaves at
the alter and is revealed to be a “whore”, “What a shame the poor groom's bride
is a whore. The Ring Master grabs the groom and drags him to see the bride being
a “whore” where she is kissing another man. The Ring Master is then revealed to
be the grooms alter ego, as the man who played the groom dresses in the same
clothes as Urie. This character represents the side of the groom that has always
had doubt about his girlfriend and has built a wall of sass to combat this emotion
-“I mean, technically, our marriage is saved”.
The way the groom’s alter ego is flouncing arrogantly and confidently around the
setting is also shown in the lyrics, “Haven't you people ever heard of closing a
goddamn door?” Here the man is sarcastically saying that ignorance is bliss.
This song is put into the baroque pop/rock category due to its links to the
1960s as a fusion of pop rock, classical music, orchestral pop and baroque
music. Therefore, one would expect that the music video would include the
typical rock music video conventions but with an old fashioned twist. This is
shown through the use of old, traditional circus acts and traditional clothing
The video follows the rock music video conventions through the following:
Brendon Urie (lead singer) is the main focus of the video, he is the Ring
Master who controls his circus acts and speaks to the audience.
There is a deeper/hidden meaning of over coming betrayal and staying
strong through darker times.
It follows a story about a wrecked wedding that matches the lyrics about
moving on from a wrecked relationship.
There is an instrumental break in the middles of the song where the tone
becomes more suspenseful, matching the moment when the bride’s family
open their eyes after a man blows glitter over them.
The video is set at night with conspicuous lighting outside the wedding room
and when they are indoors the lighting is not natural and is clearly
Lyrics and Visuals
The lead singer lip syncs the words in most of the song; he is in
character while he is singing which immerses the viewer in the
narrative. It also helps make the lead singer look more significant
which, like said in Andrew Goodwin’s theory, that this is the demand
of the record label. The lead singer needs as much screen time as
possible in order to sell the band as a brand or product
When the he sings, “goddamned door”, it is matched with a close
up shot of the vicar with a stern face, then Brendon covers his mouth
in a comical way.
There is not actually a lot of matching between the lyrics and the
visuals. The lyrics repeat the same few lines quite a lot so the video
must continue with the narrative
“ I chime in with a
"Haven't you people ever heard of
closing the goddamn door?!"
No, it's much better to face these
kinds of things
With a sense of poise and
Mise-en-scene The start of the video shows a reverse zoom close up of a wedding
signature book, which is a typical custom of a wedding. The viewer
immediately knows that the video will be set at a wedding. They assume
that the story may be about a couple who are completely romantically in
love without any trouble. However the playful tone of the start of the song
suggests otherwise, and that there may be a degree of danger to their
marriage. This in turn makes the viewer want to keep watching to find out
what the plot twist of the video will be.
Then when the camera zooms out the audience are greeted with the
image of, what seems to be, a quaint little wedding with the use of fairy
lights and indoor plants. It is still not revealed what the danger is. This
withholding of information grips the viewers attention.
We are then revealed to the sight of the bride’s family with their faces
painted white and eyes painted on your eye lids. They are shown to be
whispering to each other, which is the first glimpse of what could be the
danger in the video. Empty pews are then shown where the groom’s family
should be sitting which causes a lot of controversy in the narrative.
The lead singer then bursts through a wooden door wearing a red and
black Ring Master costume. The red connotes danger and lust, which we
find out later is the cause of the suspenseful music and suspected plot twist.
The top hat connotes dominance and he is then therefore presented as
the main character in the narrative.
A load of rather creepy circus acts then start to flood into the room,
supposedly the groom’s family. One character is a man on stilts with black
and white striped trousers and a white bow tie. Another a girl in
provocative clothing and a bright ink wig. This ‘freak show’ could represent
the part of the groom that the bride is not happy with, which then pushes
her to cheat. This theory is emphasised when the bride’s family look
Camera Work and Editing
At the start of the video extreme close up shots of the lead
singer are shown parallel to the shots of the wedding book. The
use of such an intimate shot matched with the mysterious music
suggests that he is part of the danger. This portrays the artist in a
comical and mischievous way, an image that Panic! At the
Disco have aimed for in many of their music videos. This
therefore creates a likeable personality for the audience to
latch onto and become fans of, ultimately selling the band.
The cuts between the shots of the circus acts piling into the room
and dancing are very swift and quick, also matching the speed
and tone of the music.
When the Ring Master talks in the grooms ear, a close up two
shot is used to show the intimacy between them. Also, after later
finding out that he is his alter ego, it is as if he is his the
devil/angel on his shoulder.
There is a lot of slow motion editing in the moments where it is a
significant action. This is something that I have noticed in all of
the music videos that I have analysed and it is definitely
something I will use in my own work.
Close up shots have also been a recurring main feature of the
videos, which again is something that I will adopt for my own
music video tasks. They are used to show raw emotion.
There is also a significant amount of shots that have been sped
up slightly then return to normal or speed in the same shot. I
really like this idea so it will appear in my own work a lot.
There is not exactly much use of voyeurism in this video
as the women who are dressed up in a provocative
manner are not perceived as provocative women but
provocative circus acts, gender has not say in it.
A star image is created due to the use of a dominant
costume and a lot of screen time from the lead singer. It
is clear that the band are making a statement and
telling the world that they are a band who don’t
conform to the typical boundaries and expectations of
society by creating a video with outlandish characters.