My Chemical Romance
Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
A real surprise packet
Wow. Just wow. This band has changed, and absolutely for the better. On their last two albums they’ve morphed from a slightly whiny emo-ish band (although one of the better quality slightly whiny emo-ish bands around) into a full blown art-rock band. And it suits them to a tee.
Whether you love concept albums or hate them, it takes a band with vision, imagination and skill to craft a convincing one, replete with fully developed characters and narrative. MCR’s last album The Black Parade was an excellent attempt at a concept piece, and they’ve stepped it up again on Danger Days. It tells the story of the four band members as an outlaw gang called ‘The Killjoys’, who are fighting against a corrupt corporation called ‘Better Living Industries’. They are guided along their way by a pirate DJ called Dr Death Defying (who actually only makes two or three appearances). Sounds a little obscure or convoluted? It probably is, but it hardly matters, coz it’s heaps of fun, and they execute it down to fine point.
At the end of the day (and pardon the cliché), you can have the best storyline and characters in the world for your concept record, but if the actual songs themselves don’t cut it, it matters none whatsoever. The songs on Danger Days well written, ultra catchy and extremely varied. Over the course of the album they cover hard alternative rock, pop, punk, disco, electro, industrial and much more. Even the American National anthem gets a run, although they warp it severely at the end. And they pull them all off with admirable skill.
You can flick to any track on this album and enjoy it as an individual tune, without having to hear it in the context of the storyline, and this is the key to any great concept album. Although obviously the experience is richer when it’s heard in full, the way it was intended.
They say the album is a dying art form, as attention spans get shorter and the downloading of individual songs takes precedence. Well, My Chemical Romance are one of many bands who are extending their middle finger and saying bollocks to that attitude. The complete album as an entertainment medium will be around for a bit longer if these guys have anything to say about it, and especially if they continue to produce works of this quality. And we say Amen to that.
Danger Days is an excellent rock album.