My Chemical Romance: Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys


RIYL: Queen, Cheap Trick, Oasis

My Chemical Romance have balls of steel. They shed their pissed-off jilted lover skin in favor of a full-blown rock opera (2006’s The Black Parade), even though they could have made millions mining teen angst for the next ten years. Then, perhaps to diffuse any overblown build-up over their new album, they release a breakneck rave-up as the first single, and gave it the ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ title of “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na).” It’s a genius move, really – sneak in the back door, despite being one of the biggest bands on the planet. It makes them look like they’re still hungry, and God knows the pop world (and the world in general) could use a little humility.

The problem is, it may have worked a little too well. With Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys just now hitting shelves and e-servers, “Na Na Na” has already peaked at a slightly disappointing #10, and the label has moved on to the second single. Flash back to 2006, when “The Black Parade” dominated radio for months. You have to think that the label is a little nervous at this point, though they shouldn’t be: Danger Days is a powerhouse of an album, positively stuffed with potential singles and shows the band once again exploring new territory, both sonically (keyboards!) and musically.

The band has cooked up another gonzo concept for the album – a group of desert renegades fighting a massive company in 2019, accordingly to Wikipedia – but it doesn’t weigh down the individual songs. “Sing” is a reach-for-the-rafters singalong, while “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W” out-Oasis’ Oasis. “Party Poison” is another power pop-ish rocker, and “Summertime” is downright tender, if bleak. The band’s reach had been a bit farther than its grasp in the past, but the songwriting steps up in a big way here.

It would have been easy for My Chemical Romance to shy away from the epic scale of The Black Parade and opt for a minimalist approach to the follow-up, so it is to their credit that they not only went for it on Danger Days, but pulled it off. For all the bashing that the major labels take these days, it’s nice to see one of them take off the reins and let their horses run free. (Reprise 2010)

My Chemical Romance MySpace page
Click to buy Danger Days from Amazon

  

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