Well it is true that this is the sequel to Pretty. Odd. essentially but the 'unless' part comes from the fact that it's not much like Pretty. Odd. sound wise, sure both are inspired by bands and sounds from the 60s but while as I said in my fever review, Pretty odd was a remaster of set sounds, Take a Vacation is more or less a forgotten gem of a 60s indie pop record that just happened to be made in 2010, it has nothing making this sound even remotely modern, it sticks with the whole 60s aesthetic to almost a fault.
The album itself is about as good as you'd expect, Ryan's voice fits more with this sound than Brendon's, the highs on the album are up there with the best of Panic! tracks while the lows...yeah good one like I'd admit there's anything wrong with anything Panic related that came out before 2011... The songwriting went downhill in some spots, well it never reaches bad or bland but look at Change for example, although it completely bangers and has one of the best choruses on the album, the lyrics are pretty cliche and it doesn't really do anything interesting, I'd say about half the tracks aren't NEARLY as well written as the first 2 Panic albums, and again while they aren't bad at all and they def have their charm, it's still very noticeable to me.
Album starts with the aforementioned Change which again is cliche but still rocks enough for me to look past it. Take a Vacation, The Other Girl and Cape Town are the type of laid back and lovely summer tracks that will make you want to sing along before you even finish hearing them the first time.
Maybe I Will, Maybe I Won't was sang by Jon and he does a pretty good job at it, granted there isn't much to say about it but it is great nonetheless, love the vibe of this song.
Young Veins (Die Tonight) is a super fun pop-rock track, love the buildup at the end. Everyone But You is a great ballad that gives off a sense of loneliness and sadness like no other song on the record, the lyrics are actually kind-of amazing here: "I'm tired of counting sheep to see her
I sleep because I need her"
Like idc what anyone says those lyrics are great.
Dangerous Blues is a great bluesy pop song with a lovely chorus while Defiance is on the more rock side of blues, that 60s guitar riff bangs. Lie to the Truth is alright, a bit formulaic at this point in the album and doesn't really stand out much sadly. Heart of Mine features some great vocal harmonies and gang vocals that just sound so so so very pleasant and man that sing along chorus is excellent, album definetly ends on a bang.
The hooks on this album completely steal the show and like with everything Panic! related from the early 2010s, the bonus tracks are great...well unlike with Vices, it's just one bonus track that's great and the rest is not good.
The vocals for Funnel of Love are straight up bad, I think it's Jon singing here and he does sing on other songs on the standard edition and he sounds fine on those, here however its not very good, the vocal production doesn't help him at all either, and the ending reminds me way too much of that part from Animals by Maroon 5, you know the part, the part that makes the song unintentionally hilarious.
Security is also bad, it feels like something they've already done, reminds me of Pas de Cheval but its much worse and Ryan sounds awkward.
Is It True and When You Walk in the Room are like the definition of *this is fineeeeeeeeeee*.
But then there's Nothing Matters but You at the end which completely redeems those forgettable bonus tracks, seriously wow what a beautiful acoustic ballad, the background vocals in the background are stunning, so are the violins, the lyrics are simple but very effective, I didn't really want to talk about the bonus tracks here but because of this song alone I felt like I had too because this song is just way too good for me to ignore.
So yeah this isn't exactly Pretty Odd levels of good but overall despite a few complaints, it's a blast to listen too for me, like with Pretty Odd it captures the best elements of the 60s sounds its trying to emulate although here they take those 60s sounds and embrace them even further, I wish the production was better and the songwriting was more interesting and memorable outside of the undeniably amazing hooks but hey as a swan song for Ryan Ross's career (as of now at least) it's one hell of an album to go out on!
Fav Tracks: Take a Vacation!, Cape Town, Heart of Mine, Everyone But You, Dangerous Blues, Young Veins and Maybe I Will Maybe I Won't