Feature: Another Step Forward for the Misunderstood Misfits of Emo

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So, the new My Chemical Romance single is out, and has their most ridiculous title to date, the brilliantly non-sensical ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’. And following on from the epic, sprawling and, arguably, darkly misguided The Black Parade, the only thing I could think when I first saw the trailer to the new album was, “Where is this going?”

At this point I guess I should make it clear that I’m a big My Chem fan and have been following the band since just before the release of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, their second album (first for a major label). Saying that kind of feels like an admission, like revealing “I’m an alcoholic”, and I still don’t know why, but thats a conversation for another time.

Back to ‘Na Na Na’. It’s the lead single from the band’s fourth full length effort, the fairly absurdly titled Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and judging by the trailer and promo stuff released, it’s another concept album, albeit a slightly more upbeat one (depending on your point of view).

Upbeat is how I’d go about describing ‘Na Na Na’ as well. Starting where The Black Parade‘s ‘Teenagers’ left off, the track has a glam rock feel to it mixed with the slightly more punk sound that was promised by their take on Dylan’s ‘Desolation Row’ used on the Watchmen movie soundtrack.

The world of MCR seems to have shifted from the monochrome regimented stance of The Black Parade to a brightly lit, multicoloured post-apocalyptic style, reminiscent of Tank Girl, which can only be a good thing for the band who, up until now, have seen more press inches for their associations to ’emo’ (another subject worthy of a rant) and teen depression than their music.

‘Na Na Na’ is a riot of speed, absurdity and in the case of the videos associated with it, colour. But another thing it does is something that I think MCR, and maybe more specifically frontman Gerard Way, have been wanting to do since Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge – it is a rock ‘n’ roll record by a band that seems to have become a rock ‘n’ roll band.

Upbeat, high energy, uplifting fists-in-the-air sing-along rock ‘n’ roll is something that seems to have been missing from the mainstream for a while and I think, with ‘Na Na Na’, My Chemical Romance have brought it back.

Either that or they will be shot down for changing their style, even though each of their albums has been an arguably different style and they are an ever evolving beast – something that, as a fan, I appreciate. It means they are growing, as humans do, and their music is remaining fresh and not just a retread of past glories. If only the same could be said for all bands and musicians!

‘Na Na Na’ = My Chem + (even more) absurdity x rock ‘n’ roll, with a few costumes and bright colours thrown in for good measure. As someone who wasn’t too optimistic about the upcoming new album, this single has revived my hopes for the band somewhat, and I just hope the new album lives up to it (especially as, being the fan-boy I am, I have already ordered the deluxe box set edition!).


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