The Scariest Bit of Music Criticism You’ll Read All Day is, Unsurprisingly, About My Chemical Romance

11/23/2010 11:59 AM |


In the midst of all this hubbub around the release of Kanye West’s very good perfect My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I straight up forgot to listen to the new My Chemical Romance record, which has quietly become a favorite of a small but vocal group of critics on Twitter. Now that the Kanye talk has gone well beyond the point of saturation, though, I woke up this morning and decided, finally, to get familiar with the Jersey emo band’s fourth full-length, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. As I listened, I began seeking out reviews of the album, and while there are surprisingly few of them so far (though perhaps tomorrow’s alt-weeklies will change that), they’re generally very positive. One in particular, though, from the Washington Post, is a bit troubling.

This flexing of glam rock muscle not only makes it clear that MCR understands it is more than an aging emo-punk outfit trying to stay in the game; it demonstrates a savvy comprehension of its audience. See, middle school lasts three years, which is about how long it’s been since the last MCR album. With a fresh crowd in place, the band hits the target squarely with a power-ballad such as “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W,” boasting a couplet perfect for scrawling on composition notebooks – “Blow a kiss at the methane skies/see the walls through your playground eyes.”

And if there is any true measure of success in this age of information saturation and overstimulation, it’s hitting your demographic target. Although MCR may not be collecting a basketful of Grammys, the sixth- to eighth-grade crowd will be right there with it. For the next three years, at least.

Since this is a review of a work of art, I feel comfortable assuming the type of success the writer is speaking of is artistic, and thus I feel comfortable taking issue with the assertion that the “true measure” of that success is the savviness with which one reaches out to a target demographic and not, say, the artistry with which one communicates the ideas they wish to communicate.

Now, I’m going to change gears a bit, but in a strange turn of events, just seconds ago, I received this iChat from a friend:

I’m fairly certain that what i’m about to say to you has absolutely no relevance in your life, but i’m gonna say it anyway: the new My Chemical Romance record, sounds like a soundtrack album to a live broadway show about My Chemical Romance.

As I sit here, about halfway through the album, this seems about right, regardless of how well they’re hitting whatever their target demographic is.