Review Summary: Look alive sunshine.
Change is a difficult thing for most bands to embrace. If a band refuses to evolve they are criticized for spending their time recreating the magic of their early works. But sometimes change is the only way for a band to move forward. My Chemical Romance’s hardcore influenced debut shook the scene when it first released, gathering the band legions of fans. Three Cheers brought more to the table: better hooks, better production, and a tighter band altogether. Then The Black Parade happened. The band infused their emo pop-punk roots with harmonies reminiscent of Queen, obnoxiously cliché lead work, and brought forth a record reminiscent of 70’s rock. The album divided the band’s legion of fans in a way unseen in recent memory. When the band claimed before this record it would be heavily synth driven pop and revealed song titles such as Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) I began to cringe. But while My Chemical Romance seemed down for the count, they are surely not out yet.
The first thing noticeable once putting on the album is the joy the album brings forth. While past works where laced in themes of suicide, angst, and aggressive chord progressions, this album draws on happier melodies, catchy choruses, and is overall a more fun listen. Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
has a sense of passion it’s delivery. What the album lacks in a sense of necessity it makes up for in its ability to be genuinely enjoyable to listen to, something that hasn’t been an element of the bands sound in many years. The drumming on this album does a good job of keeping a nice beat while not playing the same pattern constantly. Both guitarists have stepped up their game as well. The riffs are tighter and the Brian May-influenced solos certainly are enjoyable to listen to. Gerard’s vocals are one of the albums weaker links. His delivery is less passionate than before, even if he is a bit technically stronger as a vocalist. Stand-out numbers such as Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na ), the dreamlike S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W, and the insanely hook-driven Bulletproof Heart fill the run-time through the entire disc.
Unfortunately, the problems with this album are too glaring to justify a higher score. The lyrical content of the CD is on par with that which is on your local pop-station and is very disappointing. It took them years to think of this?
"Love gimme love gimme love
I don't need it but I'll take what I want
From your heart and I'll keep it
In a bag, in a box
Put an X on the floor
Gimme more, gimme more, gimme more
Shut up and sing it with me."
The album lacks a sense of unity: the more punk driven numbers such as “Party Poison”(most likely from the Stooges-esque record the band made that was scrapped) don’t blend with the danceable, synth-driven numbers like “The Only Hope For Me Is You”. The album feels like a collection of songs rather then one complete package, which hurts the flow of the record. On a similar note, this is My Chemical Romance’s third consecutive concept album. The concept of the album is lost between the interludes: the concept is far too loose and doesn’t flow cohesively within the album. The album is also incredibly inconsistent: while excellent tracks fill up a majority of the albums run-time, the unnecessary interludes and general lackluster material (“Planetary” being possibly the band’s worst song) drop the overall quality of the album and make it a bit of a chore to listen to.
Overall, the band shows signs of life, the album just feels too rushed. If more effort had been towards making all of the tracks better then making the album sparkle in nearly every conceivable way. They are on their path to recovery, but Danger Days
is lacking in too many areas to be a real return to form.