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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

“Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na”

And with that, after four years of waiting for something, anything, My Chemical Romance unleashed their first single about a month before their fourth studio album was released on Nov. 22.

When I was expecting something so much more, the above lyrics are simply the lyrics of the lead single’s chorus, appropriately titled “Na Na Na.”

Don’t get me wrong, the song is undeniably catchy, possibly the catchiest rock song of the year.

It’s just with listening to My Chemical Romance for the past nine years, there is a certain tone, or a certain mood, that is expected from their music. 

Their first three albums were filled with darkness flooded with songs about death, loss, redemption, cancer, vampires — lots and lots of vampires. The Black Parade was a concept album surrounded by its main character, The Patient, who was dying from cancer. Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge was another concept album about a person who is killed, and makes a deal with the Devil to see his lover again, but must first bring the souls of a thousand evil men to Hell.

Their first album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love is all about vampires.

The themes of the three albums stick together. The songs play off each other. They flow effortlessly.

Lead singer Gerard Way is an avid comic book fan. So much so that he writes his own comics. It’s been said most of his lyrics and music are inspired by the comics that he writes.

Quite an imagination that Way must have.

But back to Danger Days, which was released the same day as Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in a day that will forever be remembered as two artists who tried to release an album with the longest title. In that regard, MCR wins. In who released the album of the day, well, that isn’t even up for debate.

However, Danger Days is still a good album if you can get over the fact it’s not really like anything else the band has done before.

It sounds like them, to be sure. It’s just, again, the mood and the tone is certainly different. It’s much more non-serious and lighthearted than any of their other work. It also has more of a techno-feel to it as there are plenty of electronic instruments added to many of the songs.

About three years ago, the band said they were out to create more of a 1980s punk rock record and I guess in that regard they have succeeded. Much of the album sounds pretty raw, fast, energetic rock with numbers like “Party Poison,” “Na Na Na,” “Vampire Money,” and “Planetary (GO!)”

On first listen, three out of those four songs, I didn’t like it at all. After several listens, they have grown on me plenty.

But as usual, the band is best when it goes to its darker side with songs like “Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back,” “The Kids From Yesterday,” “The Only Hope For Me Is You,” and “Summertime.”

Then there are songs I’m not quite sure what to think of like “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W” and “DESTROYA,” the latter of which sounds like a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Janes Addiction. I’m not sure whether I love it, or should be offended by it.

While a decent album, Danger Days is nowhere near the level of The Black Parade or Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. It’s really their first album with no theme, no certain direction, no concept, just a batch of songs, which is OK for most bands, but with some artists, you just come to expect a certain sound.

In that regard, Danger Days comes off as a bit of a disappointment.

-Nick Carrabine


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