Na Na Na — Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
The last real album we had from MCR was kicked off with this single in 2010, almost ten years ago. Another high-concept record, Danger Days takes place in post-apocalypse California, with another reincarnated version of the band. The year? 2019. Yep. They really did that. They’ve just announced their return to the stage, in the last 10 days of 2019, with a show in Los Angeles, California.
This album was My Chem in technicolour — MCR with synths and ray guns. Gone were the pistols and revolvers found on earlier records. This is the future baby.
Lyrically, it was more inward looking with songs ruminating on Gerard’s own life: a singer in a 10 year old band, as a married man and father and also looking outward, towards the world at large. Planetary (Go!) was the space rocket of a song that referenced the demise of the planet with the wider album being a commentary at large on the corporatisation of our lives, art and music. Vampire Money was a dismissive nod to the Twilight series, the commodification and hyper-sexualised version of alternative culture that was emerging in a post MCR world. Across the album Gerard grappled with his huge success, the mainstream acceptance of his band of underdogs. Scarecrow saw Gerard really cement the online theories that he was the son of Billy Corgan. Destroya brought back the metal, the heroism of Bruce Dickinson never far. Summertime, The Only Hope For Me Is You, The Kids From Yesterday all paid tribute to Gerard’s wife, family and friends and the mission they accompanied him on for his ten years as rock’s greatest frontman.
You can’t help but look back on that record and realise that Gerard knew long before us that this album was the setting sun on this age of My Chemical Romance. They always had a purpose and that was much greater than being just a band. When that purpose felt either fulfilled or misplaced going forward, Gerard was always going to call time. Not many bands achieve what they did, or contribute so much culturally as they did with only two major releases.
Na Na Na, the record’s lead single, was a perfect 2010 MCR theme tune. It tore into the gluttony of our increasing consumerism, the plastic surgery culture that we now see as a norm and possibly turned the gun back on the new superstar Gerard himself: “Remember when you were a mad man, thought you was Batman”. You need only scan these lyrics to get a sense of the melting pot of references that went into the MCR universe. Gerard was hitting the gas on the MCR Trans-Am, driving them into an unknown future: “it’s death or victory”.
(The Cousin Marnie MCR TAR Takeover Part 8)