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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Parade of Sound: My Chemical Romance

Parade of Sound: My Chemical Romance

Melodrama, catchy hooks, morbid grandeur, and Liza Minelli. Not your usual combination, but in their latest album My Chemical Romance seem to merge all of these components into possibly the best CD of their career.

The Black Parade combines elements of The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper, Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Queen’s A Night at the Opera. MCR takes the listener on a journey through death and conjures up emotions that you never knew you possessed.

New Jersey’s My Chemical Romance has evolved from the whining, mach-speed debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love to the angst-filled sophomore disc Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. Comprised of vocalist Gerard Way, lead guitarist Ray Toro, guitarist Frank Iero, bassist Mikey Way, and Bob Bryar on drums, My Chemical Romance has raised a new creative bar for the entire rock genre with the majestic and theatrical The Black Parade.

Leading off with the song “The End”, you are immediately pulled into to the journey of death with its theatrical and immense sounds reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh.” It introduces us to the “patient,” the subject of the record, and invites us to come along for the ride that MCR is embarking on in this album.

“Dead!” has a 90’s Brit-Pop vibe and is a derisive commentary on society. The bouncy track, with its walking bass line, takes you into a different world and ends with a colossal, triumphant ending.

“How I Disappear” is a climax of sound that has the usual My Chemical Romance vibe to it. Possibly the least explicit track on the disc, “How I Disappear” seems to descend into the darkness and rise up in the end of the song to pull everything together and give it character.

The track “The Sharpest Lives” is a relentlessly heavy track that seems to bring the band back to its intense rock band roots and shows the incredible talent of the producers to combine electronics with acoustic sounds to craft a song that raises the creative bar even higher for MCR.

The title track “Welcome to The Black Parade” encapsulates the grandeur of the album. It marks the shift from the anger of “Three Cheers” to the get over it message of “The Black Parade.” “Welcome…” incorporates marching band sections, multiple snare sections, and horns and it serves as a good representation of the scope of the whole record. “Welcome to the Black Parade” is the first single off of their CD and is a true testament to the growth of the band personally and musically.

The band’s first shot at a ballad, “I Don’t Love You” is a more relaxed song and gives the listener a break from the loudness and intensity of “Welcome…”. This song shows the subject looking back on their lives and the mistakes they had made and regrets they have. As a throwback to Credence Clearwater Revival, “I Don’t Love You” is much smaller than “Welcome to the Black Parade” and showcases the band’s softer side.

“House of Wolves” is about sin and Hell and signifies a dark time in the band’s writing process. As bassist Mikey Way put it during an interview with iTunes, it’s as “if Motorhead and The Stray Cats were hanging out in a club at the jukebox”. The jazzy-feel of the track illustrates a new type of music that MCR successfully generates.

“Cancer” is undoubtedly the CD’s most emotionally powerful song. The terribly honest and in-your-face message of “Cancer” resonates with the listener. The song shows off Way’s vocals and is played only with piano and some fabricated drums. This song tugs on the heartstrings and is a brutally honest and literal account of the affects of the tragedy of cancer.

In a song about a young man in the midst of war, “Mama” is a playful, Alabama-like account of his experiences. You are taken for a ride and when you listen to “Mama” you can feel the fear in the young man. A lyrical cameo from Liza Minelli adds theatrics to the already bounciness of “Mama” and adds an element of sorrow and strength to make “Mama” a theatrically visual song.

Iero calls the track “Sleep” a “nerd movie come to life.” A tribute to early influences of bands like The Smashing Pumpkins and inspired by a Toto song, “Sleep” displays the intense paranoia and darkness in Gerard’s life.

“Teenagers” is possibly one of the craziest songs on the record. While silly, the song actually holds a very important message of how teenagers are prompted to violence, constantly watched over, and overly medicated by society. “Teenagers” is an animated track that remains in your head long after the record is over.

If you caught MCR on their last headlining tour, you probably heard the beginnings of the creation of “Disenchanted”.” Disenchanted” is a song that Way says “practically wrote itself” and went through countless hours of reconstruction and remastering before coming up with the final version that appears on “The Black Parade”.

The album’s last and most powerfully, emotionally charged song, “Famous Last Words” is paramount for summing up what the rest of “The Black Parade” really is about. “Famous Last Words” hits you in the stomach like a hammer and gives rise to feelings of hope and wonder. A moderate tempo song, the track is a powerful end to an amazing record.

“The Black Parade” is possibly one of the tightest concept records ever to be recorded. The crescendo of emotion, pain and hope makes “The Black Parade” a must-listen and raises the standard of excellence in the music world.