Really, My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys deserved better. A big, bold re-invention of their sound and swagger, it was, by the band’s own admission, a “missile” aimed at destroying the staid state of rock and roll, and perhaps because of that fact, it failed to catch on here in the states.
You could practically track its decline based on the videos MCR released off the album, starting with the big-budget “Na Na Na” and the equally flashy follow-up, “Sing,” in which they offed the titular Killjoys (who seemingly will never be heard of again). Their next single, “Planetary (Go!)” came coupled with a live video, and, to the best of my knowledge, a clip for “Bulletproof Heart” never materialized at all.
My Chem actually seemed to address the matter in an interview with MTV News last year , in which frontman Gerard Way lamented that the band had “gone through so many things” over the course of the Danger Days cycle, and hinted that, if there were to be any more videos off the album, they’d have to be financed by MCR themselves.
So it’s somewhat fitting that, on Monday, they unveiled the final clip from Danger Days: a fan-made video for “The Kids From Yesterday” that documents the band’s decade-long climb from Neo-Goth New Jersey rockers to interplanetary conceptual quartet. Like the song itself, the clip is a bittersweet thing, recounting MCR’s many triumphs (a pastiche of memorable live moments, it culminates with their headlining slots at Reading and Leeds this past summer), while leaving those who love to read between the lines to wonder if perhaps the band’s latest era also represents the end … not necessarily of My Chem themselves, but of a moment in rock that now seems to have all but disappeared. Truly, MCR were the last bastions of the heady heyday of mid-aughts MySpace punk, and now, well, who knows what’s next?
Of course, much of the message behind Danger Days seems to be one of self-empowerment, of inspiring fans to take matters into their own hands and shaking up the status quo. That’s yet another reason why “Kids” is such a fitting sendoff; it was made in collaboration with a fan named Emily Eisemann, who had culled through live footage and initially created a clip of her own. There’s a reason why the video ends with the phrase “Art is the Weapon,” after all: it’s been the band’s clarion call this entire time.
It’s also something Way touched on during Danger Days’ release, when he told MTV News that the album was not a conceptual piece, but rather “a complete allegory” for smashing the system and placing the power directly in the hands of their fans. And “Kids” is proof that MCR’s message was heard loud and clear, perhaps not by a majority of the record-buying public, but definitely — and most appropriately — by their fans. Sometimes, sales aren’t the only measure of a band’s success, and Danger Days is a testament to that fact. “Kids” may bring one chapter of their career to a close, but wherever My Chemical Romance go next, you know they’ll do so boldly; that’s what makes great bands truly great after all: the willingness to push the boundaries, to purvey inspiration, to shake things up … sometimes even at their own expense.