Welcome to the latest edition of KNEEJERK, where we preview some new major label releases and give our short, "kneejerk" reaction...
My Chemical Romance - “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”
The music world has patiently waited four long years for the follow up to My Chemical Romance’s crossover smash, “The Black Parade”. Like Green Day, this band’s punk roots have grown into a tree with many branches. Incorporating punk, modern rock, pop, metal, and even dance rock, into innovative concept albums, My Chemical Romance is one of the most creative bands on the scene today. Best of all, nearly every song they write is imbued with a strong sense of melody that makes them hard to forget. “Danger Days” is nothing short of brilliant and in my opinion even surpasses “The Black Parade”, which I thought would be impossible to achieve. There are a few weak tracks near the end of this 60 min opus, but you won’t find a more consistently awesome modern rock record this year. Most of you have heard the single, “Na Na Na” already, which is good, but there is even better material waiting for you on the record. Second single “Sing” is great, but don’t miss “Bulletproof Heart”, “The Only Hope For Me Is You”, “Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back”, and the beautiful 80s-flavored “Summertime”. With “Danger Days”, My Chemical Romance proves they deserve to wear the crown as kings of modern rock.
Kid Rock – “Born Free”
The new one by the big mouthed, undershirt wearing Detroit rocker takes a sharp turn into more accessible territory – as he sings on “Slow My Roll”, he “turns around and settles down”. In doing so, he risks alienating fans expecting more of his rap metal rock hybrids. Will a new fan base flock to replace them? My bets are on “no”. Kid Rock has considerably mellowed out on “Born Free”, producing generic country-flavored rock songs. The approach could have worked if only the songs were interesting and if Kid Rock was a better singer. Perhaps trying to capitalize on their previous success with “Picture”, he teams up again with Sheryl Crow on the sleepy “Collide” (which also features on Bob Seger…on piano). Country rock fans without high expectations are likely to enjoy this left turn, but most listeners are going to be as bored as Kid Rock appears on the cover. If you are curious, I’d direct your attention to the title track, “Care”, and “When It Rains”. And for a good chuckle, check out “For The First Time (In A Long Time)”, where Kid Rock attempts to sing in falsetto.