Well it’s been about four years – time for another reinvention of emo poster child My Chemical Romance. And sure enough here they are, and more glittery and flamboyant than ever. It’s worth mentioning that if you’re not a fan of MCR because of their love of the theatrical, then you may want to leave this latest album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys off your Christmas list. Yes they’ve kept the drama and conceptual backdrop to their track list, but they’ve changed their outfits, assumed their new personas and switched grim macabre romance of The Black Parade for a punk hybrid that will most likely have you grinning whether you want to or not. Despite their newfound flamboyancy their new sound is far from feminine: there’s definitely a tooth and nail, punch in the gut mentality to their latest compilation. Case and point, the first single “Na Na Na” – a simple title for a fairly simple song, but you have to appreciate it as a revolutionary evolution of the band’s signature sound. When i asked people what they thought of the single, they all said similar things: “yeah it’s a great song to drive to”; “I listen to it when I work out” etc., and here I have to agree. For me this track is great to drive to or work out to, just not great to sit down and listen to. But it’s worth moving past this mentality of spunky background music for the rest of the album, and sititng down to listen to it all the way through – much in the same way as you would have done with The Black Parade.
After ‘Na Na Na’ we get ‘Bulletproof Heart’ and ‘Sing’, too fairly powerful songs that have the fundamentals of epic anthems, akin to the chants of Black Parade, but while they match in magnitude they mirror each other so persistently that they wind up crashing into one another. The next track ‘Planetary (Go)’ is more of an undeniably tough 80’s glam space rock hybrid which invites you to shake the hand of the band’s new found synthesiser and ends up socking you in the face. Along with later track ‘Party Poison’ these songs promote a new brand of “anti-disco”, basically a rocking anti-social middle finger that you can still dance to: a bold endeavour of which MCR seems to have a pretty good hold. The second single ‘The Only Hope For Me Is You’ is wholly unimpressive as a teaser track, and really lacks the punch of the likes of ‘Party Poison’ or particularly ‘Summertime’, a track which put simply is what you would probably find if The Smashing Pumpkins ever released a Christmas album. After the powerful trance track ‘Destroya’, which really lays claim to most diverse track on the album, we are left with ‘The Kids From Yesterday’, which unfortunately follows in the same vein as ‘The Only Hope For Me Is You’. But luckily the album starts where it ends on ‘Vampire Money’, packed with Ramones-in-a-blender style punk tones. The track that is by far the most unique has to be Scarecrow, a track that doesn’t go too fast but is weighed down with the softer brand of staple MCR sounds. All in all, you have to appreciate such a completely unanticipated move on My Chemical Romance’s part to punk driven space-glam sprinkled with futuristic talk radio sound bytes; but whether any of the songs on the album really do this brave new world justice is hard to say.