The music video for “Na Na Na”, the first single from the upcoming My Chemical Romance album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, marks a welcome departure from the gloom and doom of The Black Parade with bright colors, a fun low-budget attitude and a new narrative style.
The general narrative for The Black Parade involved a character named The Patient, who was dying of cancer, being ushered into the afterlife by a goth Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The music video for the first single had Gerard Way, Mikey Way, Ray Toro, Frank Iero and former drummer Bob Bryar as the band leading the parade of the dead through a dark, ash-colored world of rubble and wreckage. Additional videos, for singles “I Don’t Love You”, “Famous Last Words”, and “Teenagers”, kept with the narrow color palate and more somber subject matter. While “Famous Last Words” had an uplifting message, it was delivered through a video that saw the band performing in the midst of the flaming wreckage of the parade float from the “Welcome to the Black Parade” video.
Members of the band have stated in several interviews that, while The Black Parade was their most successful album to date, it was also the force that nearly destroyed the band. Instead of being guys from New Jersey who were lucky enough to play music for a living, they felt trapped by their own creation and they were no longer enjoying what they were doing.
It was at this point when they started to record a new album with the goal of doing the opposite of The Black Parade. But, when all was said and done, they weren’t happy with that either. They started from scratch all over again and the result was Danger Days.
The first single, “Na Na Na”, shows a change of tone from the get-go with a catchy chorus and amusing lyrics. It’s more of a return to the punk vibe of early MCR. There’s no more morose theatrics and the song certainly won’t be classified under the dreaded “emo” category. Instead, it’s up beat and, most of all, it’s fun.
The video, co-directed by Roboshobo and Gerard Way, is superb! It’s like a Spaghetti Western meets a post-apocalyptic low-budget sci-fi. It’s what a movie about the future would look like if it was made in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Like Heavy Metal meets Mad Max meets Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, the gritty video takes place in a desert landscape with the MCR gang joined by a cute multi-culti little girl as they cruise around in their Trans Am and blast bad guys with laser guns. Each member of the band takes on a different Killjoy persona with Gerard as Party Poison, Toro as Jet Star, Iero as Fun Ghoul and Mikey as Kobra Kid. Comic book writer Grant Morrison stars as the bad guy, leader of the masked enemies who are out to kill the Killjoys. Gerard has cited Morrison’s work, particularly Doom Patrol, as an inspiration both for the band and for his own comic, The Umbrella Academy.
Very unlike the videos from The Black Parade, “Na Na Na” is filled with color, right down to Gerard’s bright red hair. Shots of Mikey doing karate kicks or Iero teaching the little girl to shoot a bazooka add a light-hearted spirit not seen in recent MCR videos and the overall feel is fun and vibrant. This also marks the band’s first video that doesn’t feature any performance of the song. Instead, the song serves as a soundtrack for the narrative, adding depth and making the video seem more like a short film.
If “Na Na Na” is any indication, Danger Days will be the perfect turn for the “new” My Chemical Romance.
View the video below or on the Trashwire Blog.
Filed under: Music, Observations, Pop Culture, Web Video · Tags: Bob Bryar, comic book, comics, Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Grant Morrison, MCR, Mikey Way, Music, Music Videos, My Chemical Romance, Ray Toro