On first listen, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a new brand of My Chemical Romance with less to say and no message for the legions of fans who hang on every word. Though Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys is a different sound to what we’ve been accustomed to, make no mistake, this record still screams a message; either join the MCRmy or get out of the way, cause MY Chemical Romance are here to stay.
Dr Death introduces us to The Killjoys over a radio broadcast somewhere in the futuristic desert. Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) blasts in with incredible punk rock energy and a sing a long melody.
Bulletproof Heart comes next with Gerard Way’s vocals layered over soft keys, then suddenly we’re catapulted into a guitar driven rock song. It would be easy to compare this track to Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge songs due to the fast paced guitar melody, but this is a new sound layered with new confidence.
From here we’re led into SING. Keys, vocals and a tambourine are the first notes we hear, then we have a drum beat that weighs in with guitars to complement the chorus. It builds so intensely and suddenly you almost lose your breath, and gives glimpses of an emotional vocal performance by Way.
From a somewhat emotionally driven song, we are thrust into Planetary (GO!). Sexy rock ‘n’ roll bringing the party. Sirens ringing in, a synth beat that screams 80’s influence, futuristic effects and a pounding Mikey Way bass line combine. The lyrics and vocals are a completely new direction, yet still managing to safely stick a My Chem label on it, unmistakable traits such as Way’s ability to express a musical generation’s angst in four words “fame is now injectable”.
Offering our ballad taste buds a glimpse is The Only Hope For Me Is You, bringing a synth-vibed introduction mixed with great rock riffs & treating us with vocals and a melody that sit so perfectly into Gerard’s vocal abilities.
Next, resulting is something similar to one of those brain freezes you get from too much cold slushy, is the track Party Poison. Relentlessly high energy, masses of guitar distortion, clapping hands and of course a ripping chorus that can only be described as the possible love child of MCR and The Hives. “Ain’t a DJ gonna save my soul, I sold it long ago for rock n roll” …indeed.
Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back is dirtier, with grittier vocal’s and guitars that sound influenced in places by a metal-esque sound. This song holds a clear message to those that have in the past labelled MCR as a band that enables and encourages suicide, with lyrics such as “this ain’t a room full of suicide”, It goes to a deeper darker place than the rest of the album, though still, it holds a positive stance with a clear message to fans and critics.
Now comes time for the beauty that is a My Chem Rock Ballad, S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W. Frank Iero and Ray Toro fuse their two very different playing styles perfectly to produce a perfect harmony, adding to this, layered vocals and a Toro guitar solo that only he can produce; It’s not showy, it’s simple and affective, paired with pounding, repetitive lyrics, we begin to feel a real urgency to an otherwise slow, melodical track.
With Summertime we are introduced to a melody that feels like a cross between The Killers, Snow Patrol and Coldplay. It has such a striking sound with beautiful acoustics produced by a band that seems to be able to play anything and still sound un-mistakenly ‘MCR’.
Next is the appropriately named track DESTROYA. It destroyed me! I’m still not up off the ground. Guitars are layered on thick and heavy, with rumbling bass lines, loud shouting vocals also layered with crashing drums. This song encourages all things fist pumping and singing at the top of your lungs.
Recovery is hard, but with The Kids From Yesterday you’re given a fighting chance. With the synth sound we’re becoming accustomed to on this record and a great big pounding bass, it offers us a moment to sing along with a catchy beat and smile on our faces.
Ending the album with a resounding last hoorah is Dr Death signing off the airways with the National Anthem of USA being played, ending in distortion and turning into Vampire Money. Fast-paced punk rock with plenty of profanity, we hear a playful interaction between members with some band banter. Sounding a bit like a track pulled from the rock ‘n’ roll 50’s and reproduced into crazy 70’s punk/rock and then finished off with the My Chem Special. Of course Ray Toro hits us with an amazing guitar solo that is just cracker.
With an exhilarating, anthem singing, fist punching album, My Chemical Romance have produced a killer rock ‘n’ roll album sprinkled with happy dust. There’s a very clear influence on this record of great American punk rock bands and equally great British rock bands. ‘Danger Days’ is a rock ‘n’ roll album from start to finish by a stellar band that descends labels and genre’s. The record makes clear reference to past criticism’s and labels and brings a message of fighting spirit and a willingness to have fun, cementing their place in the world of music as a band that has a lot to say and will never be silenced.
- Suze Peak