“Local God” by Panic! at the Disco
“Local God”, being derived from an album with a nostalgic theme, is in part about Brendon Urie’s come-up. Panic! at the Disco formed during the early-to-mid aughts – while Brendon and his bandmates were still of high school age – and almost immediately thereafter scored a record contract despite never ever performing a live show.
You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Panic! at the Disco's Local God at Lyrics.org.
So as presented in the lyrics, this not only made “every local band” in the vicinity jealous of their success. But it was also such that Urie and the crew of course achieved celebrity status in the ‘hood. Or as he puts it, he was “a local god”.
There is another sentiment embedded therein where the vocalist is calling someone out for having the opportunity “to become a star” but obviously opting not to. It has been suggested that this someone would be Ryan Ross, a co-founder of Panic! at the Disco, who left the band in 2009. But another theoretical way of interpreting this expression is as the vocalist perhaps speaking to himself and alluding to the notion that fame was never really his goal.
However, when you also take the bridge into consideration, the more-feasible explanation is that he is in fact addressing someone like a former bandmate. To note, Ryan Ross is still technically active to this day. But he was clearly never able to reclaim the level of fame and success that came with being down with Panic! at the Disco during the act’s early goings.
Was quitting worth it?
Furthermore, it does in fact read as if Urie is addressing someone he knows quite personally, beyond just a cursory professional relationship. And what he seems to be emitting, comprehensively, is that the addressee gave up the aforementioned fame and success for philosophical/religious reasons.
So now in hindsight, with the vocalist having managed to stay strong in the game while the addressee has fallen off, the former seems to be wondering, in sort of a sarcastic way, if the latter now feels that quitting was worth it.
But in any event, going back to the song’s title, the consolation prize would be that he had his run-in with celebrity nonetheless. Obviously, in the mind of Brendon, said individual never reached his full professional potential. But at least he knows how it feels to at one point have been “a local god”.
When was “Local God” released?
This is a track which Panic! at the Disco is first known to have teased on 19 July 2022, about a week before its official release date of 5 August.
“Local God” is a product of Warner Records, DCD2 and Fueled by Ramen and is a track to be found on Panic! at the Disco’s album “Viva Las Vengeance”.
The song was written by Jake Sinclair, Mike Viola and Urie, with the latter of course being the sole musician who is currently holding down the Panic! at the Disco and has been since 2015.