Rock’n’roll used to be about greatness, about escape and heroes. Once, you could get lost in an album, entangled in its world. It’s been a long time since that has been the case. Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys has changed that. It’s a fast-paced, catchy pop anthem with punk undertones. It seems like My Chemical Romance’s musical influences were much more than guitar riffs ridden with teen angst and emotional instability this time. My Chemical Romance are done with hiding behind alter-egos and made a back-to-basics rock album.
It gives us all the things that punk has never been able to provide: romance, sex, the adventure of the open road and sheer nihilism-banishing energy. It channels the band’s genius tastes for the absurd and the outlandish into a record in gleeful love with the macho pleasures of old school rock’n’roll. The jazz hands aren’t visible to the naked eye, but they’re there in spirit.
It is clear that the band have not let go of their conceptual theatrics as the record is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland of pop culture, with the band playing a bunch of outlaws known as The Killjoys. The Killjoys are battling the Draculoids and Better Living Industries, and this galactic-themed conflict unfolds by way of anthemic, call-to-arms rock (“Na Na Na”), angular textures (“Party Poison”), dance-tinged (“Planetary GO!”) pieces that all build up to the stadium-sized side of the rock palette.
There’s a snarl and a wink to the whole album, even though it swings wildly from power-pop jams like “Bulletproof Heart” to ballads like “SING” and dance-infused tracks like “Planetary (Go!).” “The Only Hope For Me is You” stands as the lone weak track on the record. It’s pretty standard broken heart fare, and uninteresting as a result.
Bottom line, though, this album is a lot of fun. It rips by at an intense pace and re-establishes My Chemical Romance as the kings of evolution. There are a ton of possible singles on this release, but more importantly, there are a lot of songs you will want to listen to at high volume in your car. Beyond that, it’s an album that begs to be played live.