Watching the evolution of a band’s sound and style throughout the years is one of the most exciting parts of being a fan. For a couple years you can love what they are doing, then for the next few you might hate their new sound. There is so much to analyze and observe as a band explores and grows in their new talents and tastes in music. Now an analysis of a band’s entire discography would be quite lengthy, so why not look at the most impressionable albums: the first and the last?
A great band to explore for this subject is My Chemical Romance. Their first record I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love is iconic for its raw energy and MCR’s debut gothic style that then evolved into the more successful record Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. Then, on the other hand, their last album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys seems like its polar opposite. This upbeat and rebellious, poppy side of MCR was very surprising after the dark concept of The Black Parade. Now, with two very different sounding records, it’s nearly impossible to pick which one is better; there is still so much to compare.
Unfortunately, My Chemical Romance’s debut record I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love is usually overshadowed by their next hit Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, but the origins of the band’s niches and attitudes blossom on Bullets, as well as their unforgettable reckless style. When being compared to Danger Days, the rawness of Bullets really stands out. This can be both a positive and a negative, depending on the listener’s taste. Especially compared to Bullets, Danger Days can sound overproduced with the danceable sound they incorporated into the tracks. However, the feeling given off by the scratchy vocals and grungy rock puts you right in one of MCR’s first basement shows. This album is the birth of My Chemical Romance’s dark and mysterious personality that they carried out through most of their career. What turns a lot of fans off from Danger Days is its incredibly poppy and cheery vibe, something old school fans aren’t used to. Tracks like “Vampires Will Never Hurt You” and “Our Lady of Sorrows” are some of the band’s first hits. Rawness and darkness is also significant in the songs’ lyrics as well. “Take my fucking hand / and never be afraid again” has and always will be one of the most influential and iconic quotes from My Chemical Romance. The tone of Bullets was a sure hit, making their next two albums follow a similar pattern that put them at the top of the rock and roll world.
As any devoted My Chemical Romance fan knows, Danger Days was a very big change for their music. The concept still had themes of camaraderie and rebellion, which was always a feature in MCR’s music, but it had a more uplifting pop-rock sound. “Sing” became a radio hit and “Planetary” was the first dance song they ever proudly wrote. Although personally it took me a few times to really get into it, Danger Days became a new, catchy era for the band. Even the people who adored the melancholy of The Black Parade have to commend them for pulling off something so far from their comfort zone. This album also marks a happier time in the band’s lives as well. Bullets was made during the dark times of lead singer Gerard Way’s alcoholism and drug problems, while Danger Days celebrated his sobriety and strength. Every album after Bullets continues to show progress, but Danger Days shows the band’s skill and development like never before. The ability to jump from dance tracks like “Planetary” to rock anthems like “Sing” and then to the punk favorite “Vampire Money” is something that had never been seen from My Chemical Romance before. This versatility shown in Danger Days really put the band in a new attitude and style. Some may argue that the change could have been a reason they broke up after this record, but you can’t say that My Chemical Romance didn’t end with a bang.
After reading this analysis, you really shouldn’t be asking which album is better. There really isn’t an answer for that. Each album has its individual style and pros and cons, but it is up to the individual listener. What everyone can agree on, however, is that both of these albums have had major impacts on the career of My Chemical Romance and their journey. Hopefully you can see in this article that MCR wasn’t successful just because of their sound; it was their style, message, and dramatic variety in the music scene that made them so iconic. Whether you hated their first and/or last albums, you can’t deny the fact they were the most important ones.