When My Chemical Romance first announced a "Pop - Dance Album" back in September, many people's first reaction was "What the hell?!". It seemed unlikely that MCR, who since releasing the phenomenal "Black Parade" had been called "Emo Superstars" "emo fags", "A Death Cult", and been blamed as the reason for a teenager's suicide, would become the very thing they seeked to avoid - the "Popular Kids". The first listen of some of the tracks on Danger Days is interesting, to say the least. But of course, this is MCR, and there is some poisonous, and totally brilliant twist on the idea.
This "twist" is the concept of the album - a group of outlaws (The "Killjoys", played by the band) in a post-nuclear-war California fighting against the evil "Better Living Industries" (or BL/ind for short) who basically run the world. This is established in the video for "Na Na Na", featuring both parties driving around the desert firing laser guns at each other. Yes, it's a massive and ridiculous concept, which written on paper, doesn't work. However, MCR have a way of working stupidly massive concepts their way and making them awesome - and in a way, this album seems almost satirical of the world we live in today, one in which massive corporations (for example, Apple) run the world, and which those who want to break away from this are seen as "disturbing the peace", or "killing joy". In fact, think Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" (Complete with happiness drugs, courtesy of BL/ind!) painted pastel colours, and thrown in the desert.
Concept aside, this album is still marvellous - opening songs "Look Alive Sunshine" and "Na Na Na" set out this alum for what it is - not pop-rock from 2010, but an 80s influenced work (think 80s Punk and David Bowie surviving a Nuclear Explosion). It's not the soul-deep sound of "The Black Parade" or "3 Cheers for Sweet Revenge", but still deals with issues of isolation and freedom ("Gravity don't mean too much to me, I'm who I've got to be, these pigs are after me" Sings Way on "Bulletproof Heart"). Whilst some of the songs, for example SING, S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W and the Kids From Yesterday are quite raw, others are synth-happy. For example, "Planetary (GO!)" is basically a Dance song. Before you throw this down screaming "WHAT!!!", it's also very cleverly done. "Fame is now injectable" yells Gerard, a stick at those who can simple gain popularity by being "Pretty" or "cool", or indeed writing a less ironic version of the very song. "The Only Hope For Me Is You" is another song using more electronic effects, this time more ballad like than the rest.
The rest of the album follows much the same... Party Poison and Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back are similar to the original sound established by "The Killers" but combined with the lyrical genius of MCR of old, whilst S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W (a song about both a nuclear explosion, and the overuse of CCTV on the public at the same time) and The Kids From Yesterday are both very Bowie-esque tracks (proof that, under the whole "American Rock Band, California 2019 etc. Persona, MCR still want to British). Dr Death Defying makes an appearance on "Traffic Report" and "Goodnight Dr Death", and "Vampire Money is an unashamed protest against bands selling into the "Twilight Fame" (since MCR's first album is about Vampires, Twilight has made the whole image very un-dangerous), so perhaps the only weak points of this album are "Summertime" and "DESTROYA", which, whilst not being necessarily "bad" tracks, feel a little rushed compared to the others. In conclusion, the mixture of amazing concepts and efficient (if not technical) musician work makes this not only a good album, but possibly the best album of this year. Don't just listen to the premier on youtube. Buy this in all due haste.