How do you top an album as absolutely massive and theatrical as The Black Parade.

You do the exact same thing again, but the exact opposite.

That is what My Chemical Romance did seven years ago today with Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.

I, like many others, found My Chemical Romance around the time of The Black Parade. And I was hooked instantly. The dark, theatrical beauty of the album made me fall in love with it from the first listen.

I was ready for the next album pretty much instantly.

Little did I know I would actually be waiting for four years.

Like the rest of the ‘MCRmy’ I sat patiently, TBP on repeat, decked out in black, trying to figure out what our heroes were cooking up.

It was a rough ride.

We lost a member, Bob along the way. There were theories that a song ‘The World is Ugly’ was going to be on the album. Copies of it, recorded from live performances, made their way onto the internet.

It was downbeat, sad, everything we expected from the band.

So imagine our surprise when what came next was completely different.

A teaser ‘Art Is The Weapon’ appeared.

Even watching it now, to write this, I still feel the adrenaline that I felt seven years ago.

It was cinematic. It was loud. It was upbeat. It was colourful. Gerard had red hair for god’s sake.

It was the beginning of a new era. We were more than buzzed.

When the album came out, two months later, it lived up to the hype.

It had everything that had made us fall for the band, the storytelling, the excitement, the everything and more.

In Danger Days, My Chem had produced a whole new world. It was what we needed.

From the opening lines “Look Alive, Sunshine,” you are immersed. You aren’t just listening to the album, you are part of it.

You’re truly listening to the tale of Party Poison, Kobra Kid, Fun Ghoul and Jet Star. And boy, is it a tale.

The lead single ‘Na Na Na’ lets you know straight away that this is a thousand years away from The Black Parade. The pure energy of the song has you showing your jazz hands, even years later.

When Gerard hits with

And all the juvee halls, and Ritalin rats, ask the angels made from neon, and fucking garbage, scream out “What will save us?” and the sky opened up…”

the imagery is so strong that you’re right there in Battery City with him.

It’s the kind of concept that only My Chemical Romance could pull off, and sound good while doing it.

Tracks like Bulletproof Heart, Sing and Party Poison continue this plot, building a tension that shouldn’t be possible simply listening to an album.

This, with the help of the intervals like Goodnite, Dr Death tell a story that would be at home in a cinema or epic novel.

Sing, especially produces tension, with the layered instrumentals, backing vocals and various tempo changes while the track builds up to those iconic words “keep running,” you’re there with Killjoys while they complete their mission. You’re ready to run.

And if you tell me that you didn’t cry when Gerard was shot in the video, I’ll assume you’re lying.

Planetary (GO!) is as close to a dance track that MCR could ever get without featuring Calvin Harris. And I loved it. Somehow, it still fits into the story of the album… and it’s so fun.

It is songs like this that you can tell that My Chem wrote the album with the live performance in mind. And let me tell you, the live performance was insane.

Destroya is one of the most electric tracks from the record, with a crescendo drum beat at the beginning followed by a scream from Gerard.

As Gerard spits “You don’t believe in god, I don’t believe in luck, they don’t believe in us, but I believe in the enemy” there is no doubt that this is the same band from the past three albums. And they’re on top of the game here.

As fast-paced and hectic as the album was, it still had those hypnotic, slow tracks that highlighted Gerard’s vocals, and how well Ray and Frank’s guitar playing worked together.

The Kids From Yesterday, S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W and Summertime, were feeling-inducing, beautiful tracks that were impossible not to howl along to .

The lyrics “you only hear the music, when your heart begins to break” is still one of the best MCR lines in history. And you can bet your money that it was my emo teenage facebook status at least 50 times within the first month of the album being released.

The final track of the album, Vampire Money, is one of my favourite My Chemical Romance songs ever produced. It is like a highlight reel of everything that made the band as amazing as they were.

Quick angry lyrics, poking fun of bands fighting to be on the Twilight soundtrack, instruments working together in a way that is somehow both messy and perfected. And of course Gerard’s shouts.

I’m still not sure that I will ever feel like I’m part of something as I did when Danger Days was released. The MCRmy were truly unbeatable. The proof is out there, with fan accounts still existing.

And I’m not sure I will ever love a band quite as much again. But I’m glad that they gave us what they did.

I’m still praying for that reunion tour.

Join me in crying over Danger Days here:

Featured Image Credit: Dean Chalkley/NME

 

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