Release Date: Nov 22, 2010
Record label: Reprise
Genre(s): Emo, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Swapping gothic pomp for metallic power pop, My Chemical Romance may streamline their excesses on Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, the sequel to their 2006 magnum opus The Black Parade, but they by no means excise their indulgences. Drama is hardwired within MCR, due in part to the leadership of Gerard Way, a lead singer who writes comic books on the side and can’t help but have his other calling seep into the fabric of Danger Days, constructing an absurd sci-fi narrative about a gang of anti-corporate renegades in the far-distant year of 2019. By setting their dystopia just nine years in the future, MCR run the risk of creating the rock & roll answer to Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, but the near-nonsensical narrative is incidental on Danger Days.
When [b]NME[/b] first met [a]My Chemical Romance[/a] they were a fresh-faced bunch of punk rock tykes playing a truly incendiary gig at Manchester’s cupboard-like Hop & Grape. After frontman [b]Gerard Way[/b] dived into the crowd and got a female fan’s thumb stuck behind his eyeball, we thought we’d take them out on the town for a drink. Racing upstairs on the bus to whisk everyone off to an all-nighter at Jilly’s Rockworld, we were met by the strange sight of the band in pyjamas watching a [i]Dungeons & Dragons[/i] DVD.
Let's see the Daily Mail hijack this one...Rock Sound reviews the new MCR record! Did anyone see this coming? The metamorphosis of MCR, one of very few bands who – like it or not – can legitimately be said to define a generation, from kings of darkness to comic book sprites seemed to take a lot of people by surprise, but it’s hardly surprising. Gerard Way has always considered himself a storyteller rather than a singer, and the ridiculous and slightly depressing media farrago around ‘The Black Parade’ meant the story they were trying to tell was completely passed over in favour of tabloid morons sensationalising a work of fiction and assuming the band were their creations. The point, effectively, was missed on a spectacular level.
Four years after a now-infamous Daily Mail article used an accompanying photograph of Coronation Street goth Rosie Webster to depict My Chemical Romance as an "emo cult" and a threat to the nation's youth, the band have ditched makeup, uniforms and doom. Their fourth album unveils an energetic pop-punk sound – somewhere between Weezer and the Dead Kennedys – although even the psychedelic S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W comes with a chorus designed to be sung in stadiums. Na Na Na is instant pop; Party Poison and the absurdly rabble-rousing Vampire Money reference the MC5 and the Stooges/Ramones respectively.
Ah, the concept album. The fantasy-ridden, uber geeky magnum opus of everyone from rock legends The Who to rap up-and-comer Wale. But while those acts spoke of pinball and, well, nothing, My Chemical Romance speak of a future where rock and roll is king and the world we know is dead. If that sounds sort of familiar, the same kind of grand, operatic despair, then clearly you heard their last album, the equally-as-conceptual The Black Parade.
The glammy, gloomy band?s 2006 opus The Black Parade was nearly the emo American Idiot. They never took to being that genre?s sweethearts, though, so this is a clean break: synthed-up anthems suited for the car, not the coffin. Trouble is, they were better at Alice Cooper excess, and the album?s concept — cartoon band battles evil corporation — never coheres.
In an oily sea of angler fish, lampreys and bottom-feeders, My Chemical Romance always have been the most intriguing and captivatingly camouflaged fish of the mainstream American rock scene. Their early excursions with gargoyles and guns on the first two records introduced a band who, though capable of playing the fool behind a barrage of power and pentatonics, also possessed a scalpel tongue and twisted wit that set them apart from the shoal. But it was 2006’s The Black Parade that truly defined the vivid gulf between themselves and their peers.
It’s a strange thing to say, but it seems that My Chemical Romance could’ve learned a few lessons from Green Day. Although few people would have guessed that Green Day’s 2004 rock opera American Idiot could have revived their sagging commercial fortunes, we were all proved wrong as the album turned into the band’s biggest success since Dookie, going so far as to garner the band multiple Grammy wins and a hit Broadway musical as well. Then again, the songs were solid, the storyline wasn’t too far out there, and square in the middle of Bush’s presidency, a little musical rebellion never hurt anyone.
Review Summary: One mistake after another.It's a dangerous thing for a band to follow up overblown concepts with a back-to-basics record. Thrice did it with Beggars after their Alchemy Index project, four ambitious albums based on the elements. It worked for them because when they stripped away the concepts and pretension, it reminded their fans of the band's songwriting prowess.
It should come as no surprise that My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way has spent much of the past three years working on his graphic novel series The Umbrella Academy. Because his band’s fourth full-length, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, is literally the sonic equivalent of a comic book. Narrated by the self-described “surgeon/proctor/helicopter” Doctor Death-Defying, the 15-track album is as visceral as the superhero wannabes of Kick-Ass and a vast sonic departure for the band.
The New Jersey rockers combine elements of the past to create something truly unique. Mike Haydock 2010 When My Chemical Romance said they wanted their fourth album to be a stripped-down affair, warning sirens went off. You could imagine the huge choruses of their previous albums gone smudgy and restrained, sucked of life. For a band that has always prided itself on histrionics, on passion, on creating a show, it was an unnerving proposition.