Disclaimer: possible spoilers for those unfamiliar with My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and a possible trigger warning for fans of My Chemical Romance. I may not be appreciating this album as much as I should, but at least I’m appreciating it.
[Isaac looks up from his computer.]
You know…we haven’t covered music in a while.
[He opens iTunes and scrolls through library. He scrolls down to the M’s, and finds Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.]
Hm. I forgot I had a My Chemical Romance album.
And I know it’s not regarded as the best MCR album—that’s still The Black Parade, if I’m not mistaken—but it’s the only one I have readily/legally available.
Plus, I like it.
Danger Days is a concept album—in other words, an album that tells an overarching story, or has a theme throughout the entire album. This one, through about fifteen tracks, two music videos, and a comic series, tells a story of a rebel/renegade/outlaw group in a post-apocalyptic wasteland: the eponymous Fabulous Killjoys.
To give perspective, I haven’t read the comics yet. I’m basing this on the album and the music videos.
Right off the get-go, the initial themes seem to be, in order, making a lot of noise and running away. Lyrics like, “It’s time to do it now and do it loud / Killjoys, make some noise” (from “Na Na Na”) and “This world is after me / after you / run away” (from “Bulletproof Heart”).
However, this being the story of a group of outlaws, there are also references to car theft, drug dealing, and disregarding the powers that be. I mean, the first lyric out of the lead singer’s mouth is, “Drugs, give me drugs, give me drugs, I don’t need ‘em / But I’ll sell what you got, take the cash, and I’ll keep ‘em.” (from “Na Na Na”) Not to mention this album comes with the Parental Advisory sticker, and earns it within the first two tracks.
At least, that’s what it is on the surface. The music videos for “Na Na Na” and “SING” show the Killjoys—the members of the band—basically waging war against a shady corporate business, Better Living Industries (or BL/ind, for those missing the symbolism), that regularly tries to kill them.
Again, I haven’t read the comics, but I think they follow a similar vein.
Here, the theme of running comes back in full force, but with an added theme. It’s a fairly small theme, from what I can see, as it only appears twice: in the “SING” music video and the track “Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back.” This would be the theme of sacrifice.
I mean, make of it what you will, but “SING” has the Killjoys breaking into the BL/ind office to save one of their captured friends, at the risk of their lives. And “Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back” switches the “run” theme for “run so my sacrifice isn’t in vain.”
I don’t know. Maybe there’s something in the comics that I’m missing. Or maybe I got it all. Who am I to say?
And, yes. I did shorten one of the song titles for this post. Forgive my improper citation, but I’m too lazy to put the full name of “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” every time I reference it.