Album Review: Danger Days is a start for better days for My Chemical Romance

Over the years, My Chemical Romance has gained a reputation for its gothic image and controversy over whether its music should be considered “emo.” The band has received a lot of hate for its image from those looking for a more mature sound; that is to say, one that isn’t worshipped by swarms of teenage girls.

With the new album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, My Chemical Romance has abandoned its gothic teenybopper ways and embraced metallic rock ‘n’ roll.

The follow-up to the 2006 magnum opus The Black Parade, Danger Days takes a vastly different approach than its predecessors. The album is based on a science fiction narrative written by lead singer Gerard Way. Though the songs are based on this story, it is not at all necessary to be familiar with the underlying concept to enjoy the album. Unlike Black Parade, Danger Days is completely streamlined and is undoubtedly My Chemical Romance’s purest rock effort.

This time around, the band kicks things off with “Look Alive, Sunshine,” a spoken narration that leads into the album’s debut single, “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na).” Though the title might fool you, the song is one of the band’s catchiest: an intense rock anthem that sets the pace for the rest of the album. What stands out most about Danger Days is the way that My Chemical Romance takes all the clichés of rock ‘n’ roll and somehow makes them its own. The next song on the album, “Bulletproof Heart,” is a power ballad through and through but still manages to express the band’s originality.

Danger Days alternates between aggressive tunes and ballads. Some other highlights of the album include “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W,” a slower tune where Way’s vocals shine, and “Summertime,” a melancholy blip amongst an otherwise upbeat collection of songs. Throughout the album, Ray Toro’s shredding guitar solos take the spotlight and create an intensity on the faster tracks, particularly “Party Poison.”

Previous fans of the band may be a little disappointed that its sound has grown up and moved on, but this album contains some great music that many will certainly find worth checking out.