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TBTS Reviews: My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

December 5, 2010

“Gravity don’t mean too much to me” frontman Gerard Way starts off “Bulletproof Heart.” That might sum up where My Chemical Romance‘s headspace has been at. After two years of touring to the point of exhaustion, another year plus spent writing, recording and mixing an entire album with Brendon O’Brien (musical guru for Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, Korn and many others) that went straight into the incinerator, and losing a drummer, lesser bands might have fallen much further before they succeeded at following a monster release like Welcome to the Black Parade. Apparently MCR is defying physics as well as rewriting the book on concept albums. Something shunned by most artists, they have made their modus operandi. Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (Reprise) is no exception. Commonly viewed as pompous and contrived by their very nature, concept albums have been relatively dormant since the early 80’s. Which, considering much of what that decade produced, was a very good thing. Now the musical landscape is drastically different, a landscape the Way brothers and company are continuing to reshape by kicking up clouds of dust doing donuts in the desert.

Danger Days is more commercial by far than any of MCR’s previous releases, but I don’t mean that in a bad way, at least not this time. “Na Na Na (Na x9),” “Sing,” “Party Poison,” “Destroya,”  and “The Kids From Yesterday” all come primed for airplay. Set in a post semi-apocalyptic future, the album as a whole plays like a Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez movie soundtrack, right down to the DJ. Dr. Death Defying’s pirate radio style voiceovers provide an interesting, albeit limited, narrative to the Killjoys story, reporting their exploits for all the folks listening at home, awaiting the latest news on their favorite antiheroes. The result is surprisingly refreshing, as I know I’m not the only one that thought going back to work with producer Rob Cavallo could lead to Black Parade II.

My Chemical Romance has never been overly original, and similarities can be drawn to other bands for at least half the tracks on Danger Days, so if you’re searching for the current pinnacle of groundbreaking modern rock, look elsewhere. However, if you need something new to spice up your next high speed cross country car chase, this should do the trick. Hasta la vista tumbleweeds.

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