“I Write Sins Not Tragedies” by Panic! At The Disco

The premise upon which this narrative is based is simple enough. But the conclusion isn’t abundantly clear, as it has been interpreted in a couple of different ways.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Panic! At The Disco's I Write Sins Not Tragedies at Lyrics.org.

As far as the premise goes, as explained by a member of Panic! at the Disco (presumably Ryan Ross), at one point in time, apparently when he was high school or something, he fell in love with a certain girl.  And one of his homeys who was privy to this fact proceeded to bonk her anyway. 

So as further elaborated by said member, a “sin”, such as referenced in the title, is basically committing an act of evil. And the person who is the victim of this act is the one who suffers a “tragedy”.

So with that noted, the narrative is set at a wedding. And to make a long story short, on the verge of getting married, the groom catches wind that the woman he’s about to web “is a whore”. Or more euphemistically put, she has recently slept with another man (or men).

Where the aforementioned confusion comes into play is in trying to ascertain the groom’s conclusive reaction. Based on the chorus it does read as if he decides to deal with the situation with “poise and rationality”. That more specifically comes off as if he’s ignoring this revelation for now (i.e. “closing the g*ddamn door”) and proceeding with the marriage. 

Or in any event, he has chosen not to spaz outright. But the second verse has been interpreted by some as the groom deciding to call the wedding off. That would seem like a spaz-inspired reaction, especially considering that the lyrics also imply that he may have already known that his boo has issues with sexual discipline.


So since the songwriter didn’t really go out of his way to make the groom’s actual reaction abundantly clear, we can make a presumption of our own, also taking the aforenoted member explanation into consideration, that the thesis sentiment doesn’t revolve around what this character in response. Rather it’s as if we, the listeners, are meant to sympathize with the groom, of whom we can all agree is definitely in an unenviable predicament.

"I Write Sins Not Tragedies" Lyrics

Facts about “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”

This song is from Panic! at the Disco’s first ever album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” (2005). To this day, that project remains their best-selling album, in large part due to “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”, which also stands as the band’s signature song. 

That is to say that this track marks the second highest the group has ever scored on the Billboard Hot 100, where the tune peaked at number 7. And on top of that, it has also achieved quintuple-platinum status stateside.

This track barely broke the top 30 of the UK Singles Chart upon being re-released in October of 2006 (with its initial date of issuance being 27 February 2006).

Some of the lyrics of this song were edited when played on certain American radio stations.

The colorful title of this piece was derived from a novel entitled Shampoo Planet (1992) by Canadian author Douglas Coupland.

I Write Sins Not Tragedies

More Facts

Shane Drake, a name that has already popped up in this blog a few times prior, directed this track’s music video. And it proved to be one of his most notable successes. For example, it earned the distinction of being named Video of the Year at the 2006 MTV VMAs. For the record said clip, which featured the Lucent Dossier Experience (i.e. a modern-day circus based in Los Angeles), was also the first which Panic! at the Disco had ever put out.

Panic! at the Disco members Brendon Urie, Spencer Smith and Ryan Ross wrote this song. Ross was actually the one who conceptualized it. And the producer of the track is Matt Squire.

This track is noted as being a favorite of Taylor Swift’s.

This song notably makes use of an accordion, an instrument which is rarely used in the creation of contemporary music.

The labels behind this piece are Fueled by Ramen and one of its imprints, DCD2 (aka Decaydance Records).

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