This piece of punk rock is a track from New Jersey Rockers My Chemical Romance's fourth album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. The band premiered the song on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 program, and Los Angeles based radio station KROQ on September 22, 2010. It was the first track to be promoted from the record.
My Chemical Romance hit a low after they scrapped the first incarnation of the record and Bob Bryar left the band. In an interview with Zane Lowe, frontman Gerard Way explained the song was the first track the band recorded after returning to the studio for the second time. "It took a little while to decide who and what this band is, then re-embrace that instead of turn our back on it," he said. "There was a lot of intensity underneath ["Na Na Na"] and it propelled all of us forward."
The band performed an alternative version of the song in Simish for the video game, Sims 3: Late Night.
A few days prior to the song's release, a movie-trailer style video was uploaded to the band's official YouTube page in which they announced the title of the album. The clip featured the band wearing a variety of masks and costumes battling unusual characters in a desert surrounding, and it included a sample of music from this song. Comic book author Grant Morrison, who is the band's personal friend, made a special appearance in the role of the nemesis of the "Fabulous Killjoys."
The music video for this generational call to arms was co-directed by Roboshobo and Gerard Way and premiered on MTV on October 14, 2010 and is an expansion of the pre-release trailer. The clip, which is a homage to camp movies like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, shows the band fighting evil "Draculoids" (white-masked characters) in a post-apocalyptic desert in the year 2019. Grant Morrison is featured in the clip and members of the band Mindless Self Indulgence also make appearances, with guitarist Steve, Righ? as the DJ, "Dr. Death Defying," and vocalist Jimmy Urine as the "main, tall Draculoid."
In an interview with KROQ, Gerard Way revealed that Urine was originally intended to play the roller skater "Ladyboy", but was changed to a Draculoid as he cannot skate.
Guitarist Ray Toro told Spin magazine the concept happened accidentally: the group decided to expand on the theme for the trailer only after seeing an enthusiastic response from their fans. "It was never intended to be a video," he explained. "[But] the response we got was so big that we were like, 'Oh s--t, now we have to do a full video for this thing.' We came up with some more ideas to flesh out the trailer."
The band spent a 15-hour day in the desert filming the video in September 2010, arriving at 6 a.m. and finishing around 9 p.m. that night. "We were shooting out in the desert heat so it was tough," Toro said. "But it was fun."
The video features MCR's futuristic crime fighting alter egos. Gerard Way told MTV News that he had been working on the music video's concept for a long time. "[There are] so many things ... I know just on the look, I probably spent three years, four years on it," he said. "I know it started as the [Killjoys] comic... we'd have these characters in our head, we went to a costume shop in East Rutherford [New Jersey], we made a rule for ourselves, saying, 'If it's not in this shop, we can't build it,' so we bought all this real stuff and made it fantastic. I carried some of that over [into the video]."
With the basic look of the Killjoys in place, Way started adapting it for the video, adding various pop-culture references. "Blade Runner has been a big inspiration, a lot of late '70s, early '80s science-fiction films, even science-fiction book covers. I think my jacket's basically based off this obscure old science-fiction book," Way said. "Vintage '80s motocross, because it was very bright and colorful... all the boots are based directly off old motocross boots in some way. Pop art was a big inspiration, Andy Warhol was a big inspiration. The fact that the car, it's a 'Mad Max'-y type car, but it actually looks more like an art car or something you'd see at Burning Man; that's intentional."
To save you counting, the title is the word 'Na' repeated 12 times. The song is also known as 'Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na).' or 'Na' x 18. No other song has ever reached the Hot 100 consisting of one word repeated so often.
Whilst discussing the album during an interview with the British newspaper, The Sun, Gerard Way said: "I like to refer to it as an assault party. The whole thing is so full-on, there's not a single song you can't dance to.
'Na Na Na' is like the Ramones with the 'Death Defying' intro borrowed from The Banana Splits. It's intentionally dumb. It's all about having a good time and not being trapped by a fashion or genre."
Gerard Way described this to NME
as a "punk-rock 'Hey Ya
MCR recorded Danger Days with Black Parade producer Rob Cavallo following an aborted collaboration with Brendan O'Brien. Way told Billboard magazine how this song prompted the band to start over, and reintroduce their concepted, cinematic approach to rock. "'Na Na Na' is the song that changed everything - it's the song that I wrote in the desert, and it came from a moment of extreme honesty, realizing that we hadn't originally made the record we had hoped. It has probably the most direct lyrics I've ever written, and when we recorded it Rob after meeting him, it was a very immediate thing. The momentum of 'Na Na Na' carried us through day-to-day, propelled us, and we didn't realize we were re-recording the album until we were four songs in."
Way told MTV News how Danger Days is an allegory for the state of the music industry in 2010. Said the frontman: "It's not a concept record with a story. It's just a complete allegory. Even the existence of Battery City and these Zones outside of it - they're very dangerous to live in - Battery City is very safe and clean, and you're living outside of it just to be free," he explained. "It's a complete allegory for the music industry, for the state of music. Rock kind of has to get its legs back and take back a lot of real estate, and I think that's what Danger Days is trying to do."
This was voted as Best Video at the 2011 Kerrang! Awards.
This was used in the 2012 comedy American Reunion and the 2012 action movie Premium Rush. It was also featured in the TV series The Mysteries of Laura in the 2015 episode "The Mystery Of The Intoxicated Intern."