Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance

From “Skylines and Turnstiles” to “Welcome to the Black Parade,” My Chemical Romance has made amazing strides in their musical career. Last fall, the long-awaited “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” created a commotion among fans and newcomers alike. This album introduced a whole new sound for the band but kept the integrity of the music that made fans like me fall in love with them.

To clear up some history, and perhaps unveil the reason for the sudden change in sound, we look back to the release of their previous album, “The Black Parade.” Fans widely accepted it with excitement. I was captivated by the message of perseverance that songs like “Welcome to the Black Parade” and “Famous Last Words” conveyed, and drawn in by the same amazing sound that had caught my attention when I first was introduced to MCR. Those life-giving songs were beautifully balanced by the raw anger and emotion in “Dead!” and “The Sharpest Lives.” Overall, I, like so many fans, adored “The Black Parade.”

So why the sudden change in sound on “Danger Days”? In 2007, lead singer Gerard Way married LynZ, bassist in a band called Mindless Self Indulgence, a good band that mixes rock with a mellow techno sound but has some questionable songs. Then Bandit Lee Way, Gerard and LynZ’s daughter, was born into the spotlight. This onslaught of good news, I expect, affected Gerard’s music, creating this new album that is so tantalizingly happy. It’s almost sickening, really, the techno-pop sound that has seeped into MCR’s music.

Of course, to some this is a breath of fresh air for the band. Others, like me, prefer the harder, angrier sound. My favorite, “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,” was the first to catch my attention. With songs like “It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Deathwish” and “I Never Told You What I Do for a Living,” I was blissful. I could, and still can, listen to those songs all day.

So, of course, when I first heard the new CD, I was less than amused. Opening with the cleverly paired couplet of “Look Alive, Sunshine” and “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na),” I was reminded of a pair of songs from their last CD: “The End” and “Dead!” For a start, it wasn’t bad. Then things took a turn for the worse. Each song that followed slipped more and more into the techno trap, and I found myself missing Ray Toro’s epic guitar solos and Gerard’s anger in the lyrics. This new dancey feel was not what I’d expected.

With “Goodnight, Dr. Death,” I found myself wishing that Dr. Death Defying (better known as Steve, the guitarist from Mindless Self Indulgence) would stick to his own band. I’d figured that with Gerard’s marriage, the sounds of MCR and MSI would begin to fuse, but I didn’t expect something this major.

Granted, the band still has more talent than most. Despite the downturn in their music, My Chemical Romance remains in the hearts of their many fans. I am thrilled with the music MCR has given me in the past, and I will remain a long-term fan.

“Danger Days” wasn’t a bad CD, however, it wasn’t nearly MCR caliber. I, like so many others, eagerly await the next installment from this wonderful band.

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