I don’t really know where to begin with this review. This album is a bit of a red herring in MCR’s discography. It’s always stuck out as an album that’s just a bit different, and not in a good way. Many MCR fans will agree that the album isn’t really what they wanted from MCR, and I personally don’t know any MCR fans who really listen to this album. Personally, I’ve historically only ever listened to this album in full once (I’ve listened to it again for this review), and it didn’t really stick with me then. I think I listened to it then for the same reason I did tonight - I wanted an album to listen to and I’ve overplayed their other albums a bit too much recently (Sheffield things lol). Anyway, into the review.
Upon starting the album, you’ll notice the radio snippets that are put in. This is trying to set up a story line, and from these it definitely sounds like there is one, but I didn’t really feel one in this album. This may just be because I haven’t listened to it much (The Black Parade’s story doesn’t stick out until you go looking for it), but breaking up the album like this definitely felt a bit unnatural at first. I usually like this sort of stuff - A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out does this really well, but these snippets were hard breaks in between the music (which I guess was the intention?).
This album has a lot of good individual songs. Even though many haven’t really listened to the album, there are very popular songs here, such as Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na). Like many people, I always had this in my big playlist for some reason. While these songs are good on their own, I feel like they aren’t woven into an album very well. Let’s take the first two (non-snippet) songs of the album - Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na), and Bulletproof Heart. These songs don’t sound like they belong in the same album. Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) is a heart-pumping fast paced energetic song, while Bulletproof Heart is a much more laid pack “happy” (more on that later) song. There’s no subtle shift over the album here - these songs are extremely different in tone yet they’re right next to each other at the beginning of the album. To compare, let’s take the first two songs from The Black Parade - The End. and Dead!. These songs are perfect together and weave into one another brilliantly. With gapless playback, they truly stick together - the rising volume and intensity of The End. abruptly stops to the flatline beep at the start of Dead!. You could even point out the beeping heart rate sensor at the start of The End., signalling to the listener that someone has died in the album’s plot (this is linked to The Patient in The Black Parade - the overarching plot that I feel that Danger Days is trying to do). This tonal shift happens many times, and really kills the flow of the album. It almost felt as if it was going to switch to a more grungy punk-like tone after the second snippet (before Party Poison), but that again abruptly stops with Summertime.
I believe that the tonal shift is the reason people don’t like this album as an album. It breaks the flow you’d expect from an album and makes it feel like a random collection of songs. This is a pretty common problem - I’ve heard that most of Panic! At The Disco’s albums, especially the newer ones, suffer from this issue, and its really put me off listening to their other albums (also I’m not a fan of the few songs I’ve heard from their newer stuff). This lack of tone or overarching story makes me not want to come back to Danger Days, even though there were songs in there I really liked (Party Poison was probably my favourite).
As I said at the start of this review, this album doesn’t feel like an MCR album. You know what you expect from an MCR album - you want some of the greatest emo shit created with an extremely strong sound and hard-hitting lyrics. This album doesn’t ultimately fails to deliver that. Many of the songs sound like wishy-washy pop rock (similar to what’s happened to Green Day), even delving in to generic “I love you lol ««3” songs, such as Summertime (my least favourite song in this album). I don’t want to attack MCR here, since I’m sure this is what they wanted to make, but it honestly sounds like they didn’t write this. This isn’t helped by the fact that this album is right next to The Black Parade in their discography, making it feel like a complete U-turn rather than a more natural pivot to less emo music.
Overall, I likely won’t be revisiting this album. My Chemical Romance simply have better albums to listen to, and because of the lack of focus in this album, its not like I can listen to it when I have a specific mood that isn’t filled my MCR’s other albums. It’s a shame really, since this is the last album they created before splitting up in 2013. Luckily, MCR are back together and The Foundations of Decay is a fantastic return to form. Unlike Green Day, who I feel will never get back to their heights of Dookie and American Idiot, I feel hopeful for MCR. Based off The Foundations of Decay, I believe that their next album, assuming they’re working on one, will live up to the legacy of their three other albums.