“Look alive sunshine – you’re here with Dr Death Defying,” says the introduction to the long anticipated fourth album from My Chemical Romance, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.
And if you weren’t looking alive, you soon will be with the amount of energy that the 15 track album exerts.
Produced by Rob Cavallo – who has produced the majority of Green Day’s albums and Paramore’s brand new eyes – and released on Reprise Records, the album has a very different sound to what is usual MCR.
But not in a bad way. It’s actually really good. They’ve created a new sound, which works for them. You can hear the subtle sounds of similarity to that of The Black Parade, but it is not the overriding sound.
It’s not easy for bands to succeed with reinventing themselves, but after four years in the making, one would expect the band to have got it down pat. Check.
Danger Days is based on the concept of the lives of the “Fabulous Killjoys” – a group of outlaws who are fighting against the evil corporation, Better Living Industries – in the year 2019.
Each of the band members has an alter-ego: “Party Poison” (Gerard Way), “Jet-Star” (Ray Tory), “Fun Ghoul” (Frank Iero) and “Kobra Kid” (Mikey Way).
If you’re a big fan of MCR, you would have noticed that Bob Bryer was not mentioned. Unfortunately, he decided to leave the band, with the announcement made in March this year. No reason was given for his departure, but he has had major problems with his wrists over the last few years, which could be the reason for his exit. John Miceli is listed as drums and percussion on the album.
All songs are definitely worth a listen, with the few that stand out – singles “Na Na Na” and “SING” along with “Bulletproof Heart” and “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W”.
Just casually, the United States national anthem “Star-Spangled Banner” pops up in “Goodnite, Dr Death” and is actually the majority of the song. It’s not really expected and it doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the album, but does fit in with the concept – Dr Death Defying is a radio host of a pirate radio station, which is then shut down. The last song played is the anthem, then nothing but static.
The album does make a lot more sense when you understand the concept, which sometimes isn’t a good thing for albums, because it can be plain confusing if you don’t. However, it makes this one more fulfilling – once you know what’s going on, of course. Even though the band insists this is not a “concept album”, it’s pretty hard to believe when it’s evident throughout. Except “Vampire Money”, which is a dig at Twilight and MCR being asked to write a song for one of the soundtracks.
Danger Days will definitely keep the fans of MCR happy and will probably gain them a few too. With the release of this new album, one can only ask – does this mean another visit by the alternative-rock band to our beautiful land?
As this started with the words of Dr Death Defying, it shall finish the same way: “The future is bulletproof the aftermath is secondary, it’s time to do it now and do it loud. Killjoys, make some noise.”
And make some noise, we shall.