Review Summary: Na fucking na.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Really, an album like Danger Days
was going to happen whether you liked it or not. Now, we all remember My Chemical Romance
as the very band who, with a digestible pop punk approach to the established emo subgenre, inadvertently made a large contribution to the glamorization of the now stereotypical “emo”/“goth” mindset. But, all in all, it really seemed as if (aside from Gerard Way’s struggle with drugs and depression, that is) these emo poster-boys really weren’t entirely the suicide-obsessed, violent, sobbing young adults that their music painted them to be, but rather a band who used the image as a theme rather than a lifestyle (The Black Parade
would have established that beyond doubt for any who felt unsure). But what happens when this very motif, on which the band has built their reputation, music and appearance since their formation, is stripped from their songwriting pattern?
…cue applause for Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
And here we are at My Chem’s fourth studio effort, the band’s inevitable transition from a rather grim scene into a much brighter setting; a ridiculous dystopian-punk theme (really, if you’ve read The Umbrella Academy
, it’s no surprise) and a wonderfully catchy alt-pop-punk sound. Strictly in pleasant major keys, Way’s uplifting, catchy and emotional performance shines beautifully as the band’s much more simplistic yet equally powerful instrumentation is merged quite smoothly with keyboards and spots of electronic programming. Lead guitarist Ray Toro is also put into a much clearer perspective; where there once were traditional octave-chord post-hardcore leads are now an abundance of solos and impressive fills. Finally, Frank Iero, Mikey Way and their accompanying studio drummers are moved into more of a simplistic position, but also transition much, much more of their focus into impacting choruses and other forms of strengthened assistance to Way and Toro.
Contrary to the beliefs of many, Mr. “Steve, Righ?” of Mindless Self Indulgence
rather nonsensical “rapping” is quite effective, gradually escalating along with subtle hints of guitar feedback and electro noises to “Killjoys / make some noise!
” “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” immediately wacks into its namesake chorus and cruises through an endlessly explosive and colourful traditional pop-punk structure. Now, “Bulletproof Heart” is much more focused on impact, taking Frank Iero’s ground-breaking punk rhythm guitar style and distributing it and the rest of the rhythm section into the song’s stop-start instrumentation, building short, split-second moments of anticipation before smashing back into the main riff, while the addition of Ray Toro’s kaleidoscopic guitar solo makes for a great air-guitar riff amidst the song’s joyful atmosphere.
“SING” mild atmosphere hits quite close to The Black Parade
for its “sing-along-but-with-a-sprinkle-of-bitterness” effect, while “Planetary (GO!)” utilizes a steady, pumping drum line, and acts as something of a pogo-club-dance track for the band. “The Only Hope for Me is You”, a very-very-very-slightly sorrowful version of “Bulletproof Heart”, is every bit as original for its minor details (echoing intro vocals, a cool synth, etc.), and finally sees a single piece of individuality for bassist Mikey Way, who exhibits a small, intriguing bridge riff, though Gerard piles his vocals over them moments later. My feelings for “Party Poison” are mixed for the use of Airi Isoda, that “f**king annoying Jap chick that just f**king gets to you”, as a friend of mine once referred to her, who exudes an energy that fits quite well with the track, but well, when you request for an Asian girl to spout what seems like gibberish to most of your audience, annoyance is to be expected.
What would best describe “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W” would be to say “that song that you hold your lighter up for at a show” or, alternately “the one that the singer gets you to put your arms up for and wave from side to side”. Really, the song is quite refreshing after the previous two energetic pop pieces, and instead takes more of a slow, atmospheric direction, while heavily reliant on its chorus, sung by Gerard in something of a high, lightly-voiced style. “Summertime” initially seems like yet another pop track upon introduction, but quickly turns to bitter-sweet pop rock track almost completely devoid of overdriven guitars, and even sees use of an acoustic guitar
, most obvious during its chorus.
“DESTROYA” opens with something of a tribal-dance introduction, leading into a quick hard rock riff. Though initially possessing a misleading opening much like its predecessor “Summertime”, it becomes a piece relying heavily on the “build-up effect”, most obviously prior to its choruses, which is borderline-oversimplified for its vocal/lyrical hook utilizing on the word “destroya” endlessly, but is ridiculously enticing until it becomes overplayed. “The Kids from Yesterday” takes the album into a chilled slope, serving as a penultimate developing point prior to the album’s close. Prolonged “wooooo-oooo-oooohs” are the song’s bread and butter, managing to create a mainstream alternative/pop rock feel prior to “Goodnite, Dr. Death”, as Steve, Righ?’s Dr. Death character “signs off” through to “Vampire Money”, blasting through ‘50s-rock-and-roll piano lines, a buzzing lo-fi emulated lead and rhythm guitar (note the epic Chuck Berry-Greg Ginn solo) and a chorus of “c’mons”, handclaps and Gerard’s signature sloppy hard rock vocal style as the album effectively concludes at a traditional rock show ending as the cymbals clang and Ray improvises a solo, smashing to an end on a final chord.
Indeed, Danger Days
is a departure, but still upholds the same digestible ideology that fans would expect (not at all a bad thing for a band who have already established themselves as much), and thankfully, this charismatic new aura surrounding the band extinguishes none of the energy that had you headbanging to “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” or “Welcome to the Black Parade” when you were a high school freshman. Granted, it may not be at all original to some in its varied but mainstream-sounding aesthetic, but I’ll be damned if it’s not the most infectious, danceable and, well, fun
pop albums of the year.
- “Na Na Na”
- “Bulletproof Heart”
- “Planetary (GO!)”
- “Vampire Money”