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Danger Days
My Chemical Romance Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
Released 19 November 2010

Rob Cavallo,
My Chemical Romance
Label Reprise Records
Length 53:56
Genre Alternative, pop punk
Website www.mychemicalromance.com

My Chemical Romance (MCR) are back, but believe it or not, not in black!

MCR’s fourth album Danger Days, comes four years after the release of their brain-soupingly successful concept album The Black Parade. The gargantuan tour that they embarked upon, initially to promote the album, then to keep it shifting units like the George Foreman Grill, left the five-piece withered and tired.

During this two year marathon the guys would be dressing up like they were attending a Tim Burton themed Debs ball every night and singing about how “not okay” they were. Millions of teenagers connected and swooned but it left the world with a very one-dimensional view of this latest “hot new” band.

And then of course there was the arrival of the new musical term used to describe MCR and bands that came in their slipstream. Singer Gerard Way hates this particular term, so I will simply refer you to the Jim Henson character of Elmo...and ask you to remove a letter. This term, and its connotations did not sit well with them. So on Danger Days they have decided to ditch the charcoal almost altogether and open up a box of coloured pastels instead.

Danger Days is a much brighter album as a result. Navel gazing and shooting-depressed-teens-in-a-barrel lyrics are minimal. It is abundantly clear that a concerted effort was made to have fun, and to imbue fun into the music on the record. Songs like the first single 'Na Na Na' and the stupendously dancy 'Planetary (Go!)' see a huge departure in terms of feel and delivery.

I do have a bit of a problem with some of the unnecessary, let’s call it “flair”, on the album however. Most of my issue stems from the fact that this is, once again, a “concept” album. The concept this time revolving around some post-apocalyptic age (isn’t it always?) where the band exists as futuristic alter egoed space-cowboys...in the desert. Yeah. I know.

So from this we get the annoying full title of the album (see above), the irritating full title of the opening track 'Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)' and the needless character called (oh lord) “Dr. Death Defying” who operates as a DJ/Narrator throughout the album, and whose doctorate is, quite frankly, open to scrutiny.

All of that said, the album does deliver big on tunes. There are a couple of tracks ('The Kids From Yesterday' and 'The Only Hope For Me Is You') that seem dialled in from their previous bleak period, but the rest are high-octane punk-pop with a sizeable helping of nonsense that makes the whole record rather enjoyable.

Songs like 'Party Poison', 'Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back' and the two aforementioned “dancy” tunes are my personal highlights from the album and they are tracks that are sure to leave some MCR fans a bit unsure as to where they stand. And let’s be honest, that is no bad thing!

So if you were planning a miserable start to your new year I’m afraid the boys from My Chemical Romance have, ironically, let you down. If however you plan on hitting the footpaths and the treadmills as you get started on your new year’s resolutions, you could do a lot worse than blasting Danger Days in your headphones and bouncing on down the road...

- D. Egan