My Chemical Romance is dead. But the man who rose from its ashes is far from over. Hesitant Alien, Gerard Way’s first solo album, is not reminiscent of emo days long gone (RIP 2006). Instead, think ’80s and ‘90s Britpop glory. Way, with his blazing hair and eclectic taste, is more David Bowie than Davey Havok — and Hesitant Alien is no different. The album leaves behind power chords and anguished wails in favor of punchy hooks and a wide range of instrumentation — tambourines and saxophones included. The whole thing kicks off with “The Bureau,” a rock ’n’ roll song complete with fuzz pedals and Jersey drawl. The next two tracks, “Action Cat” and “No Shows,” are the singles, and arguably the weakest links of the album. They’re not bad songs, but they play like B-sides from My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days. But Alien is saved by “Brother,” a starkly honest ballad that plays like a confession to Way’s younger brother and former bandmate. The track gives fans insight to My Chemical Romance’s breakup and will probably make you cry if you listen hard enough. It’s easily the most honest album Way has written yet. But if you don’t expect Hesitant Alien to be a bit theatrical, you’re mistaken. It is a celebration of the artistic forces that drive the man, ranging from Smashing Pumpkins to Pulp. Despite its nostalgic roots, Way’s debut is a wholly unparalleled work of postmodern music.


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