Music: Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance ***
Gerard Way's outsider-artist status must have felt compromised when he appeared on the cover of GQ magazine. With his emaciated physique, carefully applied make-up and bleached hair, he had become an unwitting style icon -- and not just for a generation of emo kids.
The Black Parade in 2006 had become one of that year's biggest sellers, but the frontman of My Chemical Romance wasn't feeling the love. An album of new material was scrapped as he desperately tried to discover who he was and what he was about. Marriage and a young child may have also made him question his credentials as a poster boy for teen angst.
This follow-up -- another concept album of sorts -- is unlikely to alienate the band's substantial fanbase, but it might also turn on others to their slick brand of keenly observed alternative rock.
In places, the album groans under the weight of the band's expectations -- it easily outlasts its welcome -- but when Way and friends are inspired, the results are good. Guitar aficionados will revel in the riffs of S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W, while Summertime has maturity written all over it.
Burn it: S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W; Summertime