Never the hippest band to admit to liking, My Chemical Romance performed a vital function. They were a perfect gateway act for kids to find their way into rock music in the 2000’s.
They had enough about them to put off the old guard (the make up, the posturing, the nerdy comic-book image changes, the poppy/emo hybrid music and the rampant commercialism) yet for fans of a certain mind set all of those things were reasons to love them.
What started out as nondescript milquetoast screamo hit pay dirt once they got a major deal and combined some vintage rock and roll tropes into their sound. A dash of Bon Jovi here, a 50’s guitar solo there, a pinch of The Cure’s poppyness mixed with a dose of Zeppelin bluster and the very odd nod to Rush complexity. All of this presented in a ‘Disney Goth™’ image that changed from video to video.
During their Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge era they presented themselves as ‘Prep School Loners’, WWII Casualties, Wild West Heroes and Sexy Vampires (which was the style at the time). Then they went full on Tim Burton Present’s for The Black Parade. By now they were a massive deal for some, totally over for others.
This whole new persona with every release shtick came to test the fans of the band. So when The Black Parade (Quote NME at the time ‘Lying around pretending to have cancer’) gave way to their new identity The Fabulous Killjoys (a pastiche of 70’s Anime) many serious rock fans walked away.
Even though I was far too old to be in their target demographic any way, I didn’t walk away. I always saw them as a Marvel Comics veriosn of a rock and roll band. And that was interesting to me. First and foremost MCR have some excellent rock songs. And Danger Days is full of them.
While their detractors have accused MCR of playing safe and commercial I doubt anyone at the label thought when launching the new multiplatform sci-fi comic, music video crossover project, that it would be a good idea to do it with a song like Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na). First of all that titles bloody awkward. Three Na’s followed by nine bracketed Na’s. Behave yourselves!
Then there’s the song itself. A sort of Stooges inspired rush of hedonism. ‘Drugs, gimme drugs, gimme drugs, I don’t need it, but I’ll sell what you got, take the cash and I’ll keep it, eight legs to the wall, hit the gas, kill them all’. Not exactly Born To Be My Baby is it?
So far so ‘turning rebellion into money’. Who can criticise a band for changing image when we’re all lauding Bowie and his ilk? The Clash liked to play dress up too you know?
The Fabulous Killjoys look and sound is a sort of mix of Mad Max and Vanishing Point. There’s a bit of Gorillaz and a lot of low budget 70’s sci-fi in the look and in the talky bits between the tracks (very QOTSA Songs For The Deaf). The band all have new jolly pirate nicknames now and I’ll be honest, If Danger Days were a cult movie. I’d love to see it.