Album Review: Hesitant Alien – Gerard Way

Hesitant Alien album cover.

It is true that many past band members go forth into the industry as a solo artist, but most fans would not expect former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way to release an album quite like Hesitant Alien. The opening track, The Bureau, uses the dial tone of a telephone as one of the main beats. However, the following song, Action Cat, does not use such strange and clever techniques, choosing to go in a more familiar direction for many MCR fans – closer to typical rock. However, Brother is a far cry from both of the aforementioned. Starting off with a sadder piano melody, fans have claimed that if you listen hard to the beginning and the end, you can hear the muffled voice of Gerard yelling “Where’s Mikey? Where’s Mikey?” and the equally as muffled voice of a woman saying, “It’s okay, honey, it’s okay”. (For a longer version of the muffled audio, go to the lyric video for Brother and look in the comments). With songs that have titles such as Drugstore Perfume, or Maya the Psychic, Hesitant Alien seems to be an insight into the vastly creative and wise mind of Gerard Way, portrayed through alternative rock styles.

My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade.

Although many have heard of the post-hardcore, long-since disbanded musical group My Chemical Romance, Hesitant Alien is a far cry from MCR’s glory days. While the band had more of an emo sound, Gerard’s music is much more alternative rock. The styles in the music aren’t too different, provided the right songs are selected from each to compare. It’s true that they aren’t exactly the same. But yes, it can be said that Gerard used some of the strategies learned in MCR and remixed them, in a way, to create Hesitant Alien. There are the same skilled guitar riffs and there are still sick drum beats. The biggest difference is that Hesitant Alien has little to no screaming, and almost a softer sound – a stark contrast to MCR’s harsh sound. The change in styles almost shows a change in the singer himself – or perhaps the person he was in MCR was more of a persona than who he truly is. It seems as though Gerard is finally making the music that he wants to, rather than being forced to conform to what the band – and the slightly obsessive fanbase – wanted from MCR.

Gerard Way, Revenge era from MCR
Gerard Way, Revenge era from his MCR days.

With his young daughter Bandit growing rapidly, it is clear that Gerard needed to get away from the influences of the band. While the members of the band were not negative influences, per se, the stress and pressure of the music, life on tour, the themes of the music, perhaps even the expectations from the fans pushed Gerard to create solo music rather than to stay with the band. If he’s happy with the music he’s making, we’re happy with it. Not to mention that it’s pretty fantastic, as well.

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