Review Summary: Dangerous, yet fabulous.
Since their inception in late 2001, My Chemical Romance has always possessed a flair for surprises. The four piece group had taken their ability to create shock value, and put it to work in their two major releases prior. Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
exposed the band to the mainstream market. The band found they fit themselves perfectly right into the "emo" niche. A few years later with the group's magnum opus, The Black Parade
, they put the exclamation point on their "emo" classification. This was with a concept album surrounding death. Unfortunately for the group, they were the last of a dying breed for their particular genre. For any other group, this may have been their demise.
My Chemical Romance though, is a little different. After recording sessions following The Black Parade
, the group was recording very similar works with less theatrics and less conceptual composition. However, the group became dissatisfied with these tracks and ended up shelving these finished recordings. Following this, My Chemical Romance decided to take the bold jump from "emo" rock to pop rock. The end result is Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
. Which rather than speaking of death, the record speaks of the beauties of life, and living the Carpe Diem
lifestyle. As a whole, the record is the best yet composed by the group with a new found sonic focus, musical expertise, and awareness of their past works.
Forget the plot, and Dr. Death Defying. Focus on the music.
Where the record preceding it focused more on the 80's pop rock music movement, this one takes the jump to the more electronic edge to 80's music. The result can be tracks drenched in synthesizer and bass heavy hooks. Take for example pop rocker single, "Planetary (GO!)". The track is focused on dancing all of your cares, and life's stresses away. Somewhat cliche, I know. Similarly on "Party Poison" the group puts on their best Poison impression for a track with shredding guitars, and living life as fully as you can.
The real beauty in this record though is watching the maturation of all members of the band right before our ears. Everyone's musical prowess has seemed to expand greatly to create this superb work. Gerard Way gives his best vocal performance of his career on "Bulletproof Heart", which is an anthem about being taken to new heights. During which he attempts to persuade us to go along for the ride with the group. As he wails that gravity means nothing to him, and that nothing will hold him down. He succeeds alone, but that's not where the ride ends. The lead guitar player Ray Toro is no slouch either. On intro track "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na)", and album closer "Vampire Money", Toro's guitar solos are not only expertly performed, but possibly the most exhilarating moments on the LP. The bassist Mike Way, and percussionist Mike Pedicone shine through the brightest on the futuristic flair songs like disaster recovery track "S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W", summer song "Summertime", and commencement anthem "The Kids From Yesterday".
Something to know is that the band doesn't entirely wipe their musical slate clean. Many examples of the former My Chemical Romance can still be found. These tracks are more comparable to Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
, but with a little smoother production quality. On "Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back", which combine's Way's brash screams, and with heavier rock music, the group approaches this with the same as many of their previous releases. Combine that seamlessly with the fact that everyone instrumentally increased so much, along with Gerard Way's improved vocal execution, it creates the clear stand out track. On "Destroya" the group ups the anti to create their most similar effort to The Black Parade
, with grandiose orchestration, and dramatic vocals.
One thing is for sure though, if viewed as the follow up to The Black Parade
it will disappoint many, maybe all. However Danger Days
is a separate animal. Listened to as a whole, it is their most enjoyable record free of some of their past musical flaws. In the process of crafting their most diverse, and brilliant release to date, My Chemical Romance was ready to be something different then anticipated. They succeeded here. With Danger Days
My Chemical Romance does something dangerous, but ultimately becomes fabulous.
“Everybody wants to change the world, but nobody wants to die.”