SINGAPORE - Hey guys. Guess what?
Gerard Way's new solo album, Hesitant Alien, is coming out at the end of the month.
Way is the former frontman of My Chemical Romance, the iconic noughties rock band that finally called it quits last year.
MCR fans would be delighted to have anything from Way, but it must be said that there's something missing from his new offering.
Influenced by 90s Britpop bands such as Pulp and Blur, the new stuff has a decidedly art school vibe, but without ever being quite arty enough.
It sounds like it's trying too hard at being something that works only if it comes naturally.
The guys in My Chemical Romance - Ray Toro, Mikey Way, Frank Iero - had, well, chemistry.
Now on his own, Way just sounds like some wispy inert gas.
There's no combustion. No explosion.
No The Ghost Of You.
His first single off the album, No Shows, has a guitar riff reminiscent of David Bowie's Heroes, but it never takes wing like that song does.
He even dresses a bit like Bowie in the vid, with a smart blue jacket and skinny tie, but he looks like a chubby kid playing dress-up.
Way really looks best in black.
He doesn't have that long, lean look so intrinsic to the chic and decadent vibe of the genre.
Or maybe the problem is just me.
I'm so sick of solo artists.
I read an article a while back about how the move from bands to solo acts has been driven by economics.
The basic idea I think is that in today's struggling record industry, a solo artist gets to keep his booty (treasure, not backside) instead of having to share it around with a bassist or whatever.
It's also cheaper for a solo act to travel around and do concerts or promotional tours.
Anyway, I don't really know anything about the business side of things. What I do know is that I really miss bands, and My Chemical
Romance was a band that I truly adored.
I have this very strong opinion that guys playing guitar in a proper band will always be 10 times more creative than a hired gun.
If you're the dude backing up Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, who cares? No one.
If you're Ray Toro playing for MCR, you have a place in this world.
You have real fans. You have a real stake in the music you're creating. Most importantly, you're getting paid.
Anyway, Hesitant Alien isn't a bad record, and MCR fans should definitely check it out.
It's not as good as anything MCR did, but over the past 10 years, Way has done more than enough to earn our loyalty.
Let's give the guy a little support as he goes it alone.
This article was first published on September 10, 2014.
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