D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does it Feel?)” video is one of the most iconic music visuals of a generation, a clip that redefined and eventually derailed the career of a soul prodigy. Considering its singularity — one take of a naked, sweating D’Angelo singing directly into the camera — it’s bound to inspire parodies and homages, like, well, this one from Panic! at the Disco and lead singer Brandon Urie for the band’s single “Girls/Girls/Boys.”
Panic’s version is nearly an exact replica — Urie standing on a pedestal in an all-black room, the camera lingering down his torso until the exact point when it must go back up — minus the undeniable frisson that made the original D’Angelo video so monumental. Also, Brandon Urie is no D’Angelo — no offense to Brandon Urie. That said, Urie does pull this bit off better than Asher Roth did so he’s got that going for him.
“Girls/Girls/Boys” is the third single from Panic’s upcoming album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, a record that also features a song called “Miss Jackson,” just in case you were wondering when they discovered rap and R&B. “Girls/Girls/Boys” is a bizarre song about Urie coming between a bisexual girl and her girlfriend, at one point spouting It Gets Better platitudes (“Love is not a choice”) and others both luring the subject (“Push another girl aside and just give in”) and acknowledging her struggle (“You gotta save your reputation / They’re close to finding out about your girlfriend”).
There is a surface-level display here of understanding the often complicated nature of queer relationships, but in a statement about the “Girls/Girls/Boys” video Urie comes off more like a fetishist than anything: “‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ is such a racy song that it immediately made me think of one of the sexiest videos of all time.”