Review Summary: "Rebellion is not a T-Shirt you sell"
After hearing Conventional Weapons
, it's a wonder why My Chemical Romance even bothered to released Danger Days
. Shelving an album's worth of material for such a weak, cluttered concept that lacked direction or depth and portrayed a dumb story with such childish characters was a big mistake. However, in an attempt to keep the fans on the lookout until they return with a new full length, the band decided to release a pair of songs each month on vinyl from October to February (a popular move these days to cash in), under the title Conventional Weapons
. There are a few ideas here that became the starting points of Danger Days
, but maybe for the fear of coming up with subpar material, they brought in a moronic story, complete with raps and even synths, instead of relying on their own strengths.
Recorded before Danger Days
, back in 2009 with former drummer Bob Bryar, these tracks have a slightly different feel from the previous effort, the overly dramatic Black Parade
and even the aforementioned successor. Gone are a big part of the theatrical performances, leaving behind a more stripped version of My Chemical Romance, closer to the boundaries of their second album Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
. Of course, Gerard Way is still obsessed with death and his lyrics tend to make a big deal out of everything, but he sounds more honest and actually has something interesting to say this time (such as the nod to the success of The Black Parade
in "Tomorrow's Money", saying "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"). The best example of his new found clarity might be "The Light Behind Your Eyes", which finds the front man at his most humble state, delivering what's arguably MCR's best and most mature ballad yet, singing"If I could be with you tonight/I would sing you to sleep/Never let them take the light behind your eyes").
Music wise, Conventional Weapons
sits also closer to the manic, more down-to-earth Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
, but filtered through the arena sized Black Parade
, keeping some of the arrangements and to a certain extent the vibe of the latter. These albums have divided a vast majority of their fan base in recent years and the band attempted to fuse the two worlds. In the end, they succeeded, showcasing a more calculated My Chemical Romance. This way, high octane tracks like "Boy Division" and "Make Room!!!!" have power, but don't threaten to get out of control (to some old fans' disappointment) and the more settled lullaby, "The Light Behind Your Eyes", has a beautiful acoustic rhythm with nostalgic slide leads, but fortunately doesn't get overly pretentious and dramatic. The closer "Burn Bright" is another great track, bearing more resemblance to Black Parade's "Famous Last Words", one of the highlights on that album. Even if it has the same atmosphere, MCR managed to keep the arena leanings to a lower level and focus more on the delivery.
In the end, Conventional Weapons
turned out to be one of the band's most satisfying records. Fans of both Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
and The Black Parade
will find this enjoyable and cut down to only 10 tracks, there is little to no filler here. None of the tunes sound too bloated or cheesy, being a fairly straightforward effort, that should've seen the light of day three years ago, instead of the horrid Danger Days