My Chemical ended their twelve year run as a band on March 22nd, 2013. During this time, the band rose from the underground New Jersey scene to become an iconic band known worldwide. Their career included the releasing of great album after great album. However in terms of sound, their first and last albums could not be more different. While I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love has some amazing raw punk rock tracks, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys is filled with diverse influences of music ranging from punk-rock to new wave. Some (if not most) fans of My Chemical Romance site Danger Days as being the worst album from the band because of how different it is from the rest of My Chemical Romance’s discography. All the while, some fans of the group are turned away from Bullets because of the pure rawness of the record. As a huge fan of the group, I decided to compare the albums in a battle of Old versus New.
Bullets is the most raw punk rock that you will ever hear in the My Chemical Romance discography. For the majority of this record, My Chemical Romance plays out this raw punk rock sound extremely well. With the exception of “Demotion Lovers” and “Early Sunset Over Monroeville”, the songs on this record are fast paced and fun. One of my personal favorites on the album is the track “Headfirst For Halos”. The song opens up with this sick guitar solo that builds and builds until the song explodes. From there, the track plays out in a very fun and enjoyable manner that never gets dull to listen to. Now with this being such a raw punk rock sounding recorded, there are some tracks on here that leave me underwhelmed like songs “Skylines And Turnstiles” and “Cubicles”. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with these tracks by themselves. They just appear to be basic tracks in comparison to the rest of the songs found on the album.
Danger Days is a very clean album that explores My Chemical Romance’s influences that range from punk rock to 70’s glam rock. One of the many things I love about this record is the diversity in genres that My Chemical Romance executes successfully. They stay true to their roots with punk rock jams such as “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)”, “Party Poison”, and “Vampire Money”. Some of my favorite tracks on here are the big rock ballads that show some hints of glam rock such as songs like “SING” and “The Only Hope For Me Is You.” To put the icing on the sonic cake, My Chemical Romance even has a pretty awesome dance track on here with “Planetary (GO!)”. Even though this album has something for any rock fan, there are tracks on here where I lose interest. For example, “The Kids From Yesterday” is a mid-tempo ballad that is supposed to be a tribute to the past. The song just plays on way too long with nothing but a loud obnoxious cowbell to keep my focus.
Lyrics + Songwriting:
Bullets is an album that shows off some great songwriting and good lyrics. While this is a raw punk rock album, it doesn’t play like a Clash or Ramones album. My Chemical Romance shows off their talents as songwriters with songs like “Vampires Will Never Hurt You” and “Our Lady of Sorrows”. These songs have great overall song structure and amazing instrumentation. Another example of a great track that shows off good songwriting and lyrics is the track “Drowning Lessons”. This is a song that I find myself enjoying for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons is the songwriting and lyrics are bipolar in mood. This yin-yang effect makes for such an enjoyable listening experience that plays well to the nature of the album. The rest of the tracks on the album are hit or miss due the lacking of many stand-out tracks
Danger Days features some great and awful song writing from My Chemical Romance. As mentioned earlier, this album goes into different directions with some punk rock, glam tracks, and a dance track. One of my favorite tracks on here is the first single from the album: “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)”. While the track may not be all that original, My Chemical Romance blasts through this song with great intensity. The song starts with this spoken word intro which sets the stage for the craziness of the track. This track features infectious chants of “na” that you can’t help but love. Gerad Way’s lyrics are great too with lines like “Love, gimme love, gimme love. I don’t need it, but I’ll take what I want from your heart and I’ll keep it in a bag, in a box” that show off a very defiant attitude that is found throughout the album. On the flipside of that is the track “Summertime”. This song is easily the least interesting track on the whole album. My Chemical Romance tried to make a classic laid back summer time anthem but failed to make anything interesting out of it.
Bullets is an album that has grown on me due to multiple listens and my evolution in music taste. What used to be an album that I could not enjoy due to its rawness has become a treat for me to hear. The album begins with the Spanish themed “Romance” which leads into the starting track “Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us.” This sets the stage for the entire album about relationship gone sour. Setting themes aside for a moment, this album features great punk rock tracks that are a blast to enjoy. For example, “This Is the Best Day Ever” is a fun filled punk rock track that has elements of pop and goth rolled into one neat little package. There are a couple of tracks on Bullets that I felt underwhelmed by. For example, “Early Sunsets Over Monroeville” is the most toned down track on the album. While that is not a bad thing at all, the instrumentation leaves a lot to be desired and the song relies more so on Gerard’s lyrics and vocals, both failing to carry the song. Overall, Bullets is a great album for hardcore fans of My Chemical Romance. It’s easy to see how they gained a strong following in the underground scene with this album.
Danger Days is an album that has been always been strong in my opinion. I can still recall the feeling I had when blasting this album on repeat for months after it came out. However after several listens, I am able to pick up on the album’s weak points. Some of the songs do not come across as interesting or enjoyable. For example, “Kids From Yesterday” is a track that tries to grab onto the feelings of nostalgia. However like “Summertime,” this song does little to actually engage me. That being said, there are some fantastic tracks to be found on this album. Songs like “Party Poison”, “Na Na Na”, and “Vampire Money” show off the brilliant punk rock that My Chemical Romance is known and adored for. Then there are tracks like “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W”, “The Only Hope for Me Is You”, and “Planetary (GO!)” that show off another remarkable side of My Chemical Romance that I find myself enjoying just as much as their punk rock side.
Verdict: New > Old