With his first solo record since My Chemical Romance’s break up in March 2013, there was a lot resting on Way’s shoulders with Hesitant Alien.
My Chemical Romance was always known for their theatrics and showmanship, so most fans wondered if that same charisma would present itself in the new record.
Although Way has always been seen as almost the Freddy Mercury of the alternative music scene, it seems that he did try and step away from his theatrical self with his new record.
Gritty, noisy, intimate. Those are just a few ways to describe Hesitant Alien. Way successfully presents himself as a new artist, reinventing himself in an almost David Bowie-like fashion.
His love of BritPop and glamour rock was apparent throughout the record giving us a whole new side to the dark, alluring, black eyeliner wearing frontman most had come to know and love.
The album starts off with “The Bureau” and its grimy rock n’ roll guitar licks. When Way’s vocals come in, it’s obvious that he wanted the focus to be on the instruments and not the vocals for this record, bringing back that grungy sound that became popular in the late 80s and early 90s.
Next is “Action Cat,” which was the first single released off the record. The song comes in hard and fast with fuzzy guitars and amped up vocals. Slight background harmonies give the song a nice balance between pop and rock.
The third song on the album, “No Shows” brings back those harmonies and transforms the song into an anthem for the album. Way’s vocals on this track, while slightly distorted, convey the emotion of the lyrics.
“Brother” is the first ballad on the album featuring his brother Mikey Way. Overlapping vocals and piano keep the Britpop element to the song, while also bringing a psychedelic feel into the mix.
“Millions” takes you back to the fast-paced theme of the album with it’s loud beat of drums and raw guitar. It’s very reminiscent to The Wonder’s “That Thing You Do” with it’s pop vocals and rock riffs.
The next song “Zero Zero” is the dirtiest of them all, in regards to the guitars and drums of course. Guitar feedback and all, this song makes you want to put on a leather jacket and rebel. Way’s distorted vocals give a sense of anarchy that rock has been missing for a while.
The rebellion continues into the next song “Juarez,” which is filled with angst and aggression. Way’s vocals are really pushed over the chaos of the instruments. Guitar riffs go off like alarms and take you in a whirlwind of noise.
The next ballad on the album, “Drugstore Perfume” is the weaker of the two ballads. While it doesn’t necessarily stand alone as a single track, it does break up the more fast-paced tracks in order to give your ears a rest.
“Get The Gang Together” succeeds in bringing the sexiness in rock n’ roll back, whether it was intended or not.
“How’s It Going to Be” is a fun track with its mix of African percussion and retro keyboard elements.
The last track “Maya The Psychic” finishes off the record with a heart-thumping rock anthem that makes you want to get up and dance.
For a debut solo album, Gerard Way’s “Hesitant Alien” stands on its own while simultaneously taking you on a ride.