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Album Review

My Chemical Romance, 'Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys'

November 22, 2010

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“The Black Parade’’ (2006) was one of those breakthrough albums that forces you to take a band seriously, a massive leap forward from a group that never looked like it had it in them. My Chemical Romance reaffirms its ambition by following it with another concept album, but while “Parade’’ was an empathetic, multitextured meditation on mortality from the perspective of a terminal patient, “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys’’ has — ugh — a story. The inherently goofy vision of a post-apocalyptic California where music has (perhaps) been outlawed doesn’t win points for originality, and a handful of tracks follow suit. But while the “I Gotta Feeling’’ rewrite “Planetary (GO!)’’ flounders, “Party Poison’’ takes on the Hives and wins. Still, the band’s held on to its drive and focus, and the hits outnumber the misses. With its cut-and-paste title, “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’’ is tough and catchy (no points for guessing the hook); and “Vampire Money,’’ which opens with a “Ballroom Blitz’’ call-out and is structured like a candy-metal “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,’’ is sharp, nasty, and great. “Danger Days’’ could use just a few more like it. (Out tomorrow) MARC HIRSH

ESSENTIAL “Vampire Money’’