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Chart Climber: Panic! At The Disco Scores Its Biggest Hit Since 2006 With “High Hopes”

The Brendon Urie-fronted group once again proves its staying power.

Emo-pop mainstay Panic! at the Disco has cultivated a loyal following ever since the band first blew up with 2006’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” In the years since, the emo and pop-punk scenes that birthed the band have somewhat faded from the cultural zeitgeist, although their influence on emerging rappers remains strong. However, while the band’s Fueled By Ramen contemporaries like The Hush Sound, Cute Is What We Aim For, and The Academy Is… faltered, the Brendon Urie-fronted Panic! At the Disco has proven to be surprisingly resilient.

Alongside Paramore, Panic! At the Disco regularly puts up impressive album sales numbers more than a decade after forming. Now, Urie and his group’s ever-changing lineup are looking at one of the biggest hits of their careers with “High Hopes.” The song reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week, marking the band’s second-highest-charting single of all time behind “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” On Genius, the song has earned nearly 650,000 pageviews and counting, proving once again that the Third Wave Emo scene of the late 2000s still has a lane on the pop charts.

“High Hopes” dropped on May 23, 2018, just under a month before the release of Panic!’s sixth album, Pray For the Wicked. It drew intense and immediate interest on Genius, earning over 23,000 pageviews for two days after its release. These days still stand as the high-water mark for the song on Genius, but it has experienced a rollercoaster of popularity ever since.

The song fell to a low of 1,272 pageviews on June 6, less than two weeks after its release, before rebounding to over 10,000 daily pageviews when Pray For the Wicked dropped. The song stalled out from there, however, and slowly saw its daily pageviews sink throughout the summer.

Things started to pick up once again at the end of August, thanks in part to a major performance at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards:

The song’s music video released one week later, on August 27. Just a few days afterwards, “High Hopes” rose from less than 1,500 daily pageviews to nearly 8,000. It even got the marching band treatment courtesy of Temple University:

Although things did slow down once again, this was right around when the song first re-entered the Hot 100 chart at No. 90, setting it up for an 11-week climb into the Top 20. On September 14, EA Sports dropped NHL 19, the sports videogame that featured “High Hopes” on its soundtrack. Radio play also began to grow at this point, and the song’s Genius pageviews rose from a daily average of 1,500 in September to nearly 7,500 in October. On November 6, it reached a recent peak of over 10,000 pageviews, and continues to perform well.

In addition to the song’s upbeat, stadium pop vibe, its uplifting lyrics have likely contributed to its appeal:

Had to have high, high hopes for a living
Shooting for the stars when I couldn’t make a killing
Didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision
Always had high, high hopes

Urie told Topsify that these lyrics parallel his own journey in the music industry:

I want to talk about my childhood and having this dream as a kid. Making a cardboard cutout of a guitar and standing front of the mirror, dreaming of being on stage. Now it’s come to fruition, and that is what that song is about. It’s [this] all encompassing idea of how it started and where I am now, and the vision I had.

Panic! At the Disco has undergone a lengthy series of lineup changes since 2006, with Urie now standing as the band’s only original member. In many ways, the song also reflects this long journey, which seems fitting considering its commercial performance.

“High Hopes” is now on the precipice of becoming just the second Top 10 hit of Panic! At the Disco’s career. It has earned over 182 million streams on Spotify alone, and currently sits at No. 28 on Genius' Top Songs chart. Through over a decade of revolving lineups and a changing soundscape in the music industry, Urie and Panic! have proven that their sound still has a place at the top of the charts.

Read all the lyrics to Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes” on Genius now.