On November 22, My Chemical Romance will return with their supercharged new album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and if they seem rather invigorated this time out – what with frontman Gerard Way’s radioactive-red dye job and their newfound affinity for Trans Ams and DayGlo leather jackets – well, they owe it all to one song: the hyperkinetic first single, “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na).”
Because, as Way told BBC Radio’s Zane Lowe earlier this week, up until the moment they wrote the song, MCR were floundering, putting the finishing touches on an album (produced by Brendan O’Brien) that they weren’t happy with, and dealing with the departure of drummer Bob Bryar.
But as soon as they had the breakneck chord progressions in place for “Na Na Na,” they knew everything had changed.
“That’s the moment where we said, ‘This song changes everything. We’re starting over right now. We’re starting it over with [producer Rob] Cavallo, and we’re doing it now,’ ” Way said. “Everything up to that point had felt like we had been in this kind of stasis, and as artists, stasis really equals death. So, it was so bad, the vibe wasn’t good, and then ‘Na Na’ happened. And then, all of a sudden, there was this real, big intensity underneath us, and it was the momentum we needed to dig deep and record another album.”
Recharged, the band met up with Cavallo (who did their 2006 album, The Black Parade) and powered through. The end result was Danger Days, and though the album’s release is still more than two months away, Way says that “Na Na Na” is just a taste of what fans can expect on the album. There’s an energy to it, a spirit. It’s the song that saved the band, and he hopes the MCRmy will feel that power too.
“To me, the power of the song is how it propelled all of us, and that’s kind of how we hoped it would propel everyone else,” Way said. “[The] spirit is … back, and it took a little while to figure out exactly who and what the band is and kind of re-embrace it, as opposed to turn our back on it.”