Review Summary: The first installment in MCR's "Conventional Weapons." A definite return to form and a treat for anyone listening.
It's finally here. The first two tracks off of what was the scrapped My Chemical Romance album which has now been called Conventional Weapons. From looking at the cover, there's a handgun. Number Two's cover art was released today and boasts a rather large knife. If this keeps up, I want a chainsaw or a pair of nunchucks (nunchaku).
After seeing the track listing and release dates (10 tracks released over the span of about 5 months, two songs per month) all of the My Chemical Romance fans knew this was going to be huge. This was the album that MCR had planned to release before scrapping it after Bob Bryar's dismissal (voluntary leaving?) and starting anew, allowing the band to create Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. This was the album that boasted the gem "The World Is Ugly," that fans would seek out on YouTube for years. This was the album that fans of the classic My Chemical Romance were wanting. This was huge.
Today, my vinyl copy of Number One arrived and I tore the package open as soon as I received it. Inside the sleeve was a download code and a transparent, orange record. Each side played one of the songs: Boy Division or Tomorrow's Money. Upon initially hearing the song titles, I wasn't too thrilled, but I'm an overly-obsessed MCR fanboy so just knowing that new material was on its way (sorta) was great news. So allow me to be medio-core like Attack Attack! and break it down for ya:
This was the first song I heard from Conventional Weapons and it basically bent my mind over and took it from behind. And my brain liked it. A lot.
From the second the song opens with Gerard Way's call to arms, to the way it goes into a heavy breakdown two minutes in. Everything about this song is incredibly refreshing to hear from the band.
The instruments aren't just playing power chords and being predictable this time around. There's some serious distortion that's put into effect here, and it isn't just "Gerard and that band that plays behind him," with this track. Everyone has their moments to shine.
The lyrics aren't extraordinary but I can definitely see myself singing along and just getting down to the song. It's fun and fast and reminds me of the lovechild that is Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys and Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. I'm not saying the lyrics are bad, either, but I'm just saying that you shouldn't expect the lyric-mastery shown in the ballads like "The Kids From Yesterday" or "Welcome To The Black Parade," as this song is just a "1-2-3-***-you" kind of thing.
Can I just say that the musical breakdown that occurs at about 2 minutes in is great? The whole "La-la-la-LAAAA" is just amazing to hear. It reminds me so much of The Black Parade and makes me incredibly giddy every time it comes up.
I can hear the elements that were taken from this song and put into Danger Days. This song in particular really reminds me of a "We Don't Need Another Song About California"-type thing. What? I'm the only person that actually ever heard that song? Oh. Well, the mention of California really takes me back to the bonus track found on Danger Days (one of my lesser MCR tracks, but it's still good).
Alright, don't go in thinking "Vampire Money," because this song is completely different. The only thing they have in common really is the word money. I mean, that may as well mean that Pink Floyd is an inspiration of "Vampire Money," but I highly doubt it.
This is the lesser of the two tracks on Number One in my opinion. The balance of instruments to vocals in the verses just really threw me off with the song, so I had to look up the lyrics to follow it, for the most part. The lyrics are pretty damn good, though. For example:
"I stopped bleeding 3 years ago / While you keep screaming for revolution / Because rebellion's not a t-shirt you sell / You keep your money and I'll see you in hell"
Now, I'm not saying these are going to be some lyrics that stay with humanity for 50 years or what have you, but the lyrics are pretty creative and full of angst.
The chorus is really enjoyable with the syncopation and dance-y feel. I like being able to listen to My Chemical Romance and get my dose of musicality while still being able to be a jolly Patrick. Maybe that's why Danger Days made such an impact on me? I dunno, the happiness displayed in the chorus of this song really rivals the rest of the track and the contrast is really great.
Above, I wasn't trying to say that pre-Danger Days My Chemical Romance makes me want to kill myself, by the way. I'm fully capable of listening to Bullets-era MCR and being incredibly happy. It's just the fact that the music itself is happier while still managing to keep the elements of MCR involved is really great for me.
So there you have it. I don't want to analyze the two songs that much (c'mon, I've already listened to 'em both 24 times each, I'm done for a while) so I'm going to try to keep the reviews simple. When the entire collection is released in February, I'll have a deeper review going in to the whole album.
Conventional Weapons: Number One gets an angst-filled score of 4/5 ninja stars. Had Gerard's voice been less hidden in Tomorrow's Money, it would be an easy 4.5/5. Go buy the songs on Amazon or iTunes or something.