10 things you probably didn’t know about My Chemical Romance’s ‘Danger Days’
The future is bulletproof, but how’s your ‘Danger Days’ knowledge?November 20, 2020
It’s been an entire decade since the Killjoys first made some noise on 2010’s Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. The aftermath is secondary, ultimately legendary and a timely reminder that My Chemical Romance can turn their hands to any far-fetched concept and produce a timeless, genre-defining album in the process.
For every year we’ve run away with Party Poison and co., fighting off Better Living Industries, we’ve uncovered one lesser-known fact about this neon My Chem era—and the final full album from the New Jersey boys—in hopes that it may not be their last record for much longer.
My Chem didn’t intend for “Look Alive, Sunshine” to make sense
The immortal words of Dr. Death Defying’s introduction to the Danger Days era were a roll call to the post-apocalyptic world where the Killjoys reside. And they’re perplexing, to say the least. What does “Louder than God’s revolver and twice as shiny” even mean, anyway? The good news is MCR didn’t intend for us to understand it in the first place. Gerard Way confirmed to Billboard that the language play in this opening track mirrors that of the novel-to-film classic A Clockwork Orange. Teenage gang members in Anthony Burgess’ novel use a nonsense language called Nadsat. It’s just loose enough for readers to understand its base meaning but not how it reaches the point. So that explains why this introductory narration has kept us scratching our heads for years.
The Black Parade is dead
Blink and you’ll miss the sneaky reference to My Chem’s previous album, The Black Parade. A skeleton half-submerged in the desert sands wears a dusty Parade-era jacket in the chaos of the “Na Na Na” video. But this glimpse of their past isn’t just a visual depiction of “The Black Parade is dead” sentiment. What we’re actually seeing is the burial of the memory of drummer Bob Bryar. He left the lineup during the writing of Danger Days, but they don’t brush over the loss of a key member in their rise to success. Instead, the passing nod recognizes and celebrates Bryar’s role and lasting effect on MCR’s past, present and future.
MCR meets The Sims
We’ve heard the rapid-fire anthem “Na Na Na” in many shapes and forms over the last decade. But there’s one alternate version we never expected. My Chem re-recorded the song in the fictional Simlish language for the video game The Sims 3: Late Night. If you’ve ever wondered what the classic track would sound like if you couldn’t understand English, look no further. We wouldn’t recommend listening to this gibberish version while drunk. Still, it’s definitely an unusual addition to the legacy of a song that broke the mainstream.
“Bulletproof Heart” provided the concept
After exhausting themselves through the process for The Black Parade, My Chem swore their next effort wouldn’t feature a concept. They planned to return to their raw talents as songwriters without novelty costumes or fleeting gimmicks. However, that all changed when the band wrote “Bulletproof Heart,” which handed them their next grand concept: futuristic runaways. And it sounded like a distant echo from the existential Black Parade days morphing into the laser-beam Killjoys era. Gerard confirmed to Billboard that this epic track showed MCR how to use their experience in high concepts to the best effect for their fourth record.
“SING” rebooted Danger Days
One of the defining anthems from Danger Days, Gerard confirmed to Billboard that the writing process that culminated with “SING” was the catalyst for the band’s decision to scrap their progress on the fourth album and start all over again. It was a defiant track devoted to standing up and being heard. And it brought life to the new incarnation of My Chem was given the rousing cover treatment on Glee. Plus, the band recorded a version entitled “#SINGItforJapan” to raise funds for the Red Cross relief efforts after the 2011 Japan earthquake.
The band proved fans right about their theory of MCR’s return in 2019, the same year the Danger Days universe is set in. But they also paid tribute to something other than their own forward-thinking genius by placing the Killjoys in an alternate dystopian universe nine years in the future. The setting was inspired by one other bleak, post-apocalyptic vision of California in the year 2019: Blade Runner. It turns out we have Harrison Ford’s 1982 sci-fi classic to thank for MCR’s futuristic interpretation that involved the entire band dying in the field of combat with robots.
“Party Poison” is a love song to rock and metal
The anti-party party anthem “Party Poison” brought the unbridled energy to the Danger Days era. And it included a plethora of rock and metal influences. Originally titled “Death Before Disco,” the midpoint of the album not pays tribute to both Ray Toro’s inspirations from the vibrant MC5 and Gerard’s favorite Judas Priest song, “Living After Midnight.” Gerard also mentioned the outstanding influence of Bruce Springsteen on Danger Days. He explained to Rolling Stone that writing “Party Poison” was like discovering their own show-stopping alternative to “Born To Run.”
Kobra Kid’s helmet
While fighting off Draculoids and Exterminators, the Killjoys needed all the luck they could get. Kobra Kid was of course there to help with his iconic helmet sporting the words “good luck.“ This design feature was a sneaky nod to the space-based Nintendo video game Star Fox, where a screen appears and a voice says “good luck” before every mission. With this 1993 callback, Mikey Way’s Danger Days alter ego kept a classic sci-fi shooter reference close to his heart. Of course, the positive message didn’t save his character from death, but it’s the thought that counts.
The origins of “DESTROYA”
Gerard once described “DESTROYA” as “the hardest song the band have ever done.” And he later revealed to Billboard that the Hindu Holi festival inspired its lyrics. Known as the “festival of colors” and a positive social event for friends and family to repair broken relationships and strengthen connections, this traditional event in the Indian calendar encapsulates all the neon fun-loving vibrance of Danger Days. According to Billboard, every member of the band took to the drums for the recording of “DESTROYA.” Their goal: To bring out the vivacity and togetherness of one of the most upbeat songs on the record.
Gerard hinted at their return during Danger Days
I found this 🤷 It was in a tweet… Can't find it now though… pic.twitter.com/DPcYG25U5a
— 🥀𝕲𝖔𝖙𝖍𝖎𝖈𝖆 𝕱𝖊𝖓𝖓𝖎𝖈𝖆🥀 (@MissMausoleum) December 23, 2019
Eagle-eyed MCR fans leave no stone unturned when it comes to speculating the now-factual return of the emo icons. The MCRmy uncovered a hint of the band’s foreshadowed return by way of an olive green jacket Gerard wore during promotion for their fourth album, suggesting that a sigil patch that appeared on his shoulder spells out My Chemical Romance. We saw Gerard sporting this jacket on numerous occasions before the band’s hiatus. And in hindsight, he also wore this jacket for their reunion show in Los Angeles in 2019. Was the singer always hinting what to expect when My Chem eventually returned?