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Rockin' Our Turntable: My Chemical Romance

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 14, 2010 5:20PM

2010_12_mcr_dd.jpg My Chemical Romance scrapped an entire album, ostensibly returning them to their raw rock and/or roll roots after the wonderfully bombastic The Black Parade, before starting work on Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. Danger Days returns to the grand notions and sounds of The Black Parade but continues to scrape off the band’s final layers of gothic screamo in favors of stadium pop polish. It seems My Chemical Romance is a band unable to give up its excessive tendencies, something we’re frankly glad to see. In an era where most stadium rock is empty bombast (see: a certain Hollywood heartthrob’s musical side-project that’s gone on 30 Seconds too long) is gratifying to see a band gleefully embrace pretension and fill it with winks rather than wince-worthy moments.

The Black Parade dealt with a dying cancer patient’s journey, earlier albums dealt with tragic lovers and Danger Days finds the band returning to rock opera territory. This time around the storyline is less romantic and more familiar, dealing with post-apocalyptic battles with tyrannical corporations (and we think some sort of vampire creature, but we’re not sure). Sure it’s slightly silly but it opens the band up to penning more immediately gratifying anthemic rockers and fewer obtuse turns to bolster a stronger storyline. The sound is power-glam sheen driven by bright punky punch, owing quite a bit to producer Rob Cavallo’s signature sound that allows big guitars to ride brightly over thundering bass thumps. But Cavallo’s engineering skills would be wasted without My Chemical Romance’s songwriting hitting every pleasure center at every level. We dare you not to feel the urge to sing along to the glam of “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” or the glittery disco-pogo of “Planetary (GO!).”

It’s a late entry, but Danger Days is definitely one of the most entertaining albums of the year. It is deeply accomplished, multi-layered and a whole lotta goddamn fun.

My Chemical Romance plays tomorrow, December 15, at House Of Blues, 329 N Dearborn, 8:30 p.m., $38, 17+