Review Summary: Bleh.
Meet Gerard Arthur Way. He was a confused, troubled teenager who suffered from both alcoholism and drug addiction as well as having suicidal tendencies and problems with self harming. He was a recluse, unwilling to leave his parents basement, and he was seemingly content to lay waste to the world as those around him pulled ahead. Well, that was until the 9/11 attacks. While the attacks left his entire country in a state of shock, they gave this particular man the wakeup call needed to sort his life out: he left the basement, sobered up (to an extent) and formed a band. And there we have it; the formation of one of the most popular (and unpopular) bands this side of the millennium.
After 4 relatively commercially successful releases, it’s pretty easy to forget the boy that Gerard Way once was, and for that reason this album could be given a 5. It could be viewed as a piece of art, used to convey the awkward, disturbed Gerard Way of old rather than the charismatic front man we perceive him as now. Or you could listen to the music, and realise there really isn’t much special about this album.
There are several reasons for this albums downfall, and if you listen to the first 2 tracks you can see why. The first song, an instrumental piece titled <i>Romance<i>, has been proclaimed by the stronger fans of the group as “beautiful” but in reality, it comes across as monotonous and arid. After it finishes, <i>Honey This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us</i> comes in, it’s punky riff hitting you like a bullet, if you’ll pardon the pun. Unfortunately, this song sets the tone for the majority of the rest of the album – aggressive, energetic and extremely uninspired.
Another problem with the album is the production. Sometimes, it’s hard to discern any melody from the mash of angry guitars, take for example <i>Drowning Lessons</i>; a song which fails to maintain the listeners interest for much longer than 20 seconds due to its bland intro. The vocals on the album are also too erratic to make the album an enjoyable listen, at times being sensational and at others barely in tune.
Of course, the album isn’t all bad and the high points are at times remarkable, albeit far apart. Take for example the single <i>Vampires Will Never Hurt You</i>. It takes the aggression common across most songs, and turns it into an emotional, almost catchy rock song. Another song of note is <i>Headfirst For Halos</i>, although album placement may make this song more appealing than it really is. It comes after a group of likeminded tracks, and the bands uncharacteristically cheerful riff comes as a nice break from the onslaught of distorted, boring riffs, although the song does grow annoying after a while.
The albums finest point, however, comes at the very end in the form of the love ballad <i>Demolition Lovers</i>. While the other ballad on the album, <i>Early Sunsets Over Monrover</i>, fails to make use of Gerard’s emotional voice, <i>Demolition Lovers</i> hits the mark. While most of his screams on the album come across as abrasive, on this song they simply add to the beauty of it. The song also contains the best lyrics on the album and despite its length of just over 6 minutes it doesn’t fail to captivate you for the entire song.
However, one excellent song and a couple good ones aren’t enough to save what is overall an inconsistent and lazy piece of music. Thank god they managed to up their game for their follow ups. Anyway, who knows, half of these songs could be masterpieces, forever lost in the stereotypical, characterless guitars.