(WARNER MUSIC KOREA)
Why we recommend it: My Chemical Romance is certainly not a favorite among all, but their progession stands as a record of modern music times.
Recommended track: “SING,” “Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back”
The year is 2019. The heroes: a band of desert roamers, the Killjoys. Alt-rock/pop punk group My Chemical Romance takes an entertaining turn with their latest album, shedding their signature over-the-top theatrical performance for comic book dusty costumed superheroes and villains, fighting alongside DJ Death Defying (voiced by Steve Montano, collaborator with Mindless Self Indulgence), and leader Korse (noted comic book writer Grant Morrison).
Making a much-needed return to simpler roots with cleverer premises, the group explores a world of post-apocalyptic radio communications and good vs. evil, tracing vignettes of their adventures on each track.
Given their contribution to the OST of Zach Snyder’s film adaptation of “Watchmen,” the progression into story-book form seems natural for the hit group, particularly as front man vocalist Gerard Way write comics on the side.
First single and opening track “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” sets the pace with a fast-catch, hoppy rhythm punctuated with the steady guitars of Ray Toro and Frank Lero. Though the band still falls prey to trend cliches (i.e., the random use of a cute Japanese voiceover introduction in “Party Poison”), they still manage to seamlessly come together for minor hooks (“Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back”) and anthemic inductions (“SING”).
This year saw the sudden departure of longtime drummer Bob Bryar, but the lyrics stand up to a front of unity, emphasizing strong alliances in the face of adversity — an element truly taken from their comicbook inspiration.
While the overall tone is one of sacrificial, voluntary destruction in order to save the world, the effect is nonetheless oddly heartening. “We’re never leaving this place alive/but if you sing these words we’ll never die.”
The release concludes with a mournful final report by DJ Death Defying and a triumphant “Star-Spangled Banner,” before breaking into the final “Vampire Money;” a reference to the “Twilight” offer of contributing a song to the wild cult culture of the vampire trilogy, which they rejected. My Chemical Romance, who have shot up in fame over the past decade, have certainly garnered a share of celebrity life — this album serves as a reminder that they are, indeed, still a rock band.
— INES MIN
‘Brown Eyed Soul’
When Brown Eyed Seoul first made its debut with “Soul Free” in 2003, it was hard to find any Korean band quite like it. With a hint of groovy jazz, the four-member group was all about slow, romantic and stylish rhythm and blues. They were not interested in digitalized tunes or speedy singles or albums, but worked more on what may be one of the most important factors in any group: harmony.
With their soft yet impressive vocals and perfect harmony, the group’s new self-titled album once again offers sophisticated tracks.
Their first single “If You are the Same” is a mellow love song, with the highlight on leader and main vocalist Naul’s strong and convincing voice. “Love Ballad” may remind one of a scene from a high school prom; while “You” starts with a familiar “doo-wop”chorus. The remake “Lady at the Cigarette Store” is clever, as the popular song from the 90s has been recreated as a funky acoustic jazz number.
— HAN SANG-HEE