Music: Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
"This one's for all you rock-and-rollers, all you crash queens and motor babies. Listen up! The future is bulletproof. The aftermath is secondary. It's time to do it now and do it loud! Killjoys, make some noise!"
Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys is the fourth studio album by My Chemical Romance. The concept of the album is based around the lives of the 'Fabulous Killjoys' with each band member posing as a different member. The Killjoys are a group of outlaws who are fighting against the evil corporation Better Living Industries (BL/ind.) led by Korse, in the year 2019. Their guide is pirate radio DJ Dr. Death Defying. A website for Better Living Industries was launched in mid-November, betterlivingindustries.jp, featuring a mission statement, a report from the Zones and a merchandise store.In terms of music, Danger Days is very much a lighter and - wait, no, that doesn't quite fit. It's definitely less angsty than previous MCR albums, even with the requisite rock operaending, and while many tracks keep the anthemic feel of their previous works, they're infused with a straightforward high-octane, raygun-ladenpsychotronic enthusiasm and tying together influences from modern Indie Rock, pop punk, and their old Emotive Hardcore sound to create something distinctly new.In addition, Dark Horse Comics published The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys comic, a six part miniseries that started in June 2013. The comic serves as a sequel to the album and the official ending to the Killjoys storyline, focusing on the Girl and the continued fight against BL/ind 12 years after the Killjoys' deaths.
Alternate Continuity: Many are quick to note a Continuity Snarl or two between the album and the events in the videos, the most obvious being Jet Star and Kobra Kid being reported as dead in "Jet Star and Kobra Kid" on the album and the Killjoys possibly dying in the video for "SING". It all depends on how you interpret all the information gathered together, whether or not everything happens in one timeline. (Or, possibly, whether the villains are using stun bolts.) There's also a nice piece of fanfic that tries to explain how the Killjoys keep surviving.
The comics serve as an official sequel to the album. However, some have noted the similarities of DJ Cherri Cola in the comics to Mikey's portrayal of Kobra Kid◊. The solit for issue 3 even mentions Cherri as "a former Killjoy". Yet again, this comes into conflict with Kobra's fate in "Jet Star and Kobra Kid". This is subverted, however, in that it was revealed Cherri Cola was indeed a Killjoy, but he didn't go to Battery City to rescue the Girl with the other Killjoys so he wasn't dusted, leaving him the only apparent original Killjoy survivor until his death protecting the Girl. Any resemblance to Kobra Kid seems to be just a coincidence.
Apocalypse How: The enigmatic event when "The Lights Went Out" is an implied Class 1. Another is implied at the end of the album with Doctor D's line "The lights are out and the party's over."
Cool Mask: The Killjoys all have personalized masks to kick ass in, which have become a common fashion statement both with fans and those influenced by the Killjoys in the comics.
Crapsack World: When your only shot at freedom is to flee to the desert and risk getting "ghosted" nearly every day of your life, that might qualify. Not that people in Battery City have it any better, not following BL/ind's orders can lead to getting killed, replaced with a robot, or turned into a Draculoid. While the Danger Days story takes place around the West Coast, Better Living Industries is a Japanese company and what little is implied about the rest of the world isn't too good.
The Dracs might just be regular Mooks while the Exterminators (like Korse) are the real Elite Mooks. Word of God seemed to suggest that the Dracs were higher than S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W, who were higher than the police. Korse seems more like The Dragon. In the comic, The Girl stated Dracs weren't worth her time to off and she only targeted Scarecrows, which implies Dracs are lower. Also in the comic, Korse is demoted to Lobby Patrol for the BL/ind compound, which while a significant step down from being a Scarescrow is still higher than a Draculoid.
Engrish: As Battery City is implied to be Japanese funded, some of the text and dialogues that appear in the videos, albums and comics are read in mangled bad translated english.
Fake Band: As a very punk rock inspired post-apocalyptic world, it has at least four stated fictional bands. The Mad Gear and The Missile Kid, Vacation Adventure Society, AKA Loretta and The Cause and Effect.
Fate Worse than Death: Agent Cherri Cola, who went into Battery City on a one-Killjoy killing spree, was captured alive, and was turned into a Draculoid. According to the Twitter accounts anyway, he's still very much not a Drac in the comics.
Issue 1 of the comic shows that putting on a Drac masks forces you to see everyone around you as giant insects. One girl forced to wear the mask nearly kills her brother out of fear.
Future Slang: "Slaughtermatic", "clap", "Costa Rica", "Crash Queens" and "dusted" to name but a few.
Improvised Weapon: Nintendo Power Gloves and Zappers are the weapon of choice in 2019.
Kill 'em All: In the video for "SING", all of the Killjoys die.
In the album, only Jet Star and the Kobra Kid die. Or at least at that point.
DESTROYA implies that at least one of them survived. Some personally interpret that song as a Rousing Speech before what is either the Killjoys' Heroic Sacrifice or victory. Keep in mind that according to Dr. Death Defying's Twitter, there are "four generally accepted levels of dead" in the wastes.
The official comics continuation so far indicates they all died...except for DJ Cherri Cola. Issue 2 mentions him as a former Killjoy who didn't go with the others to Battery City (as in, the events of the "SING" video) and ended up being the only surviving Killjoy as a result.
The fate of "Vacation Adventure Club" in the "Dead Satellites" Free Comic Book Day story.
The comics feature a subplot with Red and Blue, android "porno bots" who just so happen to be in a committed relationship.
The Free Comic Book Day short "Dead Satellites" shows BL/ind sending down decommissioned porno bots from the skies to draw out Zone dwellers who mistake them from the sky as meteors or something else and go to investigate.
Twenty Minutes into the Future: Better Living Industries took control in 2012, the events of the album and the videos take place in 2019, and the comics take place 12 years after the events of the album.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Party Poison's radioactive red hair, and most of the Ultra V's hair colors in the comic. Rather appropiate for a series about teenage rebel punks.
The Album and Music Videos
Arc Words: Run,Live Forever, and variations thereof.
There's also Summertime mentioned throughout the album.
And something about The lights going out or variations mentioned in almost every track.
And The aftermath is secondary, as it's said by Dr. Death Defying in the intro, and it also appears to be the slogan for BL/ind.
According to the Twitter feeds, Agent Cherri Cola attempted to do this for News A Gogo. He failed. Gogo escaped on her own, and Cherri was turned into a Draculoid. Which may have been retconned or wasn't canon in the first place as DJ Cherri Cola is in the Killjoys comic and is still very much not a Drac.
Cerebus Syndrome: Sort of a self-contained example. The songs start out fun and even uplifting, but at about the halfway point after Jet Star and Kobra Kid die, things start sounding angrier, sadder rather sinister, and the storyline ends with a positively gratingLast Note NightmareDowner Ending.
And then comes Vampire Money, an out-of-story song that's kind of perplexing coming after everything that just happened...but ends the album on the same note it started on. Borderline positive! Except if you listen to the words of Vampire Money, they finish exactly opposite of Na Na Na, that is, caving in and submitting to the life they fought in the beginning...if it was actually in-story. Canon-wise, the Killjoys that were shown in the video at least died during the events of the "SING" video and Vampire Money was written as a Take That after being asked to do a song for the soundtrack to one of the Twilight movies. Note that Gerard's roll call in the beginning refers to the band and not the Killjoys.
As of the Killjoys comic, the accounts might be non-canon. While Cherri Cola and Tommy Chow Mein show up in the comics, the Twitter storyline had Cherri Cola turned into a Drac. As of Issue 2, he's still living in the Zones as DJ Cherri Cola along with DJ Dr. Death Defying.
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Either that or that bit of Word of God applies to the scrapped album (eventually given a release in the form of Conventional Weapons) that the Killjoys replaced, not Danger Days. So it wouldn't be as much about Gerard lying as much as it is fans taking outdated information out of context.
Doomed Moral Victor: The prelude to the album states that the Killjoy's are greater than God's revolver and twice as shiny. The intro to Na Na Na states that the future is bulletproof, the aftermath is secondary. The song later states outright that there are many people who want to change this Crapsack World, but are afraid to die. The Killjoys are the only ones who have the balls to change the world at the face of certain death.
Also note that in all the music videos thus far, the Killjoys are handed their asses in the end. The "SING" video is treated as canon in the Killjoys continuation comic...which is to say that they are one of the four commonly accepted levels of dead.
Heroic Sacrifice: Taken literally, this trope is the main focus of "Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back".
Heroic BSOD: Party Poison has one in the music video for SING when he realizes that the Draculoid he just killed is Agent Cherri Cola, an ally of the Killjoys. This causes him to hesitate and leads to Korse taking advantage of the moment by killing him. This is shown better in the Director's Cut version.
In issue 2 of the comic, this is clarified/retconned. The actual Cherri Cola wasn't there during the events of the video, making the Draculoid that Party shot into some random mook (with no resemblance to the Cherri Cola in the comics) rather than someone of any emotional significance. The issue does explain that the Killjoys didn't want to kill but did so in order to protect The Girl. Party Poison's Heroic BSOD could have come from the lifestyle the Killjoys took on finally taking a mental toll on him.
High Concept: How Gerard gets out of claims that the band has created another concept album after early interviews quoted them as avoiding that. What many fail to realize, of course, is that descriptions of the album in early interviews refer to the scrapped first attempt.
LARP: Overlaps with Audience Participation, since the band encourages fans to come up with their own Killjoy names and costumes. A "secret" part of the Transmissions page on the official site also encourages fans to send in their own; some of these videos are then broadcast from Dr. Death Defying's WKIL channel.
Last Note Nightmare: "Goodnite, Dr. Death" has a really bad one. It doesn't help that "The Star-Spangled Banner" starts playing after Dr. Death Defying's final broadcast (after all of the Killjoys have been murdered, the government has taken over, and all hope seems lost). It REALLY doesn't help when the last note of the track explodes into a loud burst of distortion, louder than almost anything else on the album. Not a nice thing to listen to when half-way asleep.
Mood Whiplash: When you first hear the album, you go through it all fine. Then, you start to listen to the songs, apart of 'em all, and you feel like you are hearing a mixtape of a lot of genres and favorite songs you just picked, all mixed up in between songs. Helped by the Dr. D's reports, it could very well be a cassette being left recording a whole afternoon of radio. And it's awesome.
The whiplash really starts to bite when, after the first handful of songs, all of which are fist-pumping, party-inducing anthems, "The Only Hope For Me Is You" throws in a little hint about bombs and war. No big deal, just a little hint. And then the normally-cheerful Dr. Death Defying breaks in to tell us that Jet Star and the Kobra Kid "got themselves ghosted", and encourages us to "die with your masks on if you have to" before adding "Here...is the traffic". The rest of the songs sometimes fit the "anthem" style and sometimes dip into melancholy, but they tell the story of everyone else dying, too.
"Vampire Money" begins with a roll call, similar to the one at the beginning of Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz".
Tagalong Kid: The Little Girl. Rather than being The Load, however, she's seen hacking into vending machines, wielding a giant bazooka, and basically not panicking when she's captured by Better Living Industries during the "SING" video.
Thanatos Gambit: The Killjoys know that they don't stand a chance against BL/ind. So they plan to live forever by making a memorable stand against their enemy.
The Stinger: "Vampire Money," the last song on the album, which comes after Dr. Death Defying's final broadcast, is sung by MCR as themselves, and is seemingly unrelated to the Killjoys. It's about selling out, further adding to the listeners' confusion.
Specifically, it's based on a request to do a song for the Twilight soundtrack, which they turned down despite the financial potential. In one interview, Gerard is quoted as saying "Vampires are the new Jonas Brothers."
Wild Mass Guessing: The Continuity Snarl moments between the album and the music videos have caused a lot of speculation amongst fans. The official sequel comic may either make this better or worse, as it's a sequel to the album but treats the events of the videos as canon including the main Killjoys' deaths in the music video for SING, which contradicts the order of the Killjoys deaths in the album.
Also, the song "Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back" on the album if taken literally. As rumoured above, it is most likely Party Poison making the sacrifice this time as both Jet-Star and Kobra Kid are dead at this point.
Downer Ending: The Free Comic Book Day mini issue, Dead Satellites. Vacation Adventure Society, a pair of musicians, rogues, and possibly Killjoys allies, are killed, and a boy loses his mom to BL/ind, replaced by a cyborg-mom.. And that was only on that issue.
Heel-Face Turn: Korse. The more we see him the more sympathetic he becomes, until he outright defies his old role as villain by letting Blue escape.
Humongous Mecha: Destroya. We get to see just how humongous when he comes back to life.
Ink-Suit Actor: Korse, the BL Ind elite S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W, takes a great resemblance to his original actor, Grant Morrison. Similarly, Steve, righ?'s character, Dr. Death Defying, is basically himself in a comic book.
Of Corsets Sexy: The head of BLI combines this and Whip It Good to create an intimidating dominatrix look when she's not wearing a suit.
Properly Paranoid: Val Velocity is VERY suspect of BLI spying on the Killjoys, suspicions that lead him to do some truly horrible things. He's right in the end, though the spy was the last person or rather, animal that anyone ever would have suspected.
Right on Queue: Poor Blue is subjected to a truly ridiculous degree of this. It is NOT played for laughs.
Suddenly Sexuality: Korse apparently started seeing another man sometime during the Time Skip and might be gaining more of a conscience as a result. At the expense of his SCARECROW status being revoked and the potential for big trouble if BL/ind finds out he's actually having a meaningful romantic relationship.
Teenage Wasteland: Implied, most characters seen in the Zones appear to be in their early teens to mid twenties and the oldest non BL/ind character seen in the Zones in issue 1 are the salesman Tommy Chow Mein, DJ Death Defying, and DJ Cherri Cola. The Ultra V's mistrust DJ Death Defying due to him being super old (like, forty something).
Time Skip: Takes place 12 years after the events of the album.
Warrior Poet: DJ Cherri Cola speaks in very haunting verses when we heard him. Plus, he's a Dr. Death Defying ally, and former Killjoy, surviving the Time Skip in the Zones, so we must assume he's a great fighter.