My Chemical Romance

A tag or a pigeonhole always makes something easier to understand. Joe public struggles with things that can’t be segmented. But what happens when a band outgrow a moniker? When did Green Day stop being a successful American punk/pop band and become spokespeople for a disenfranchised generation? Just like many before them gone are the drugs references and in are the brutal slashes at a corrupt government. Music can be so powerful. Which brings us to the emo tag, music filled with emotive lyrics, well I know the reason I have the line ‘And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time’ tattooed on my arm, because of how much it means with so little words and yet I’d hardly call ex-Beach Boy Glen Campbell emo. So here after much hype, clever marketing (the same team behind ‘American Idiot’) and one cracking number one single comes ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ from emo (sic) rockers My Chemical Romance. Firstly they have made the transition and firmly shook free of the chains of the emo tag. Maybe we have just found nemo (new emo) or maybe it is something greater. Concept album or not this a powerful record and how five floppy haired, pierced lovers of eye make-up have arrived at this third album is by and by because no matter what you think about them as a band they have made a f*cking kick ass record. If you want to label it, its part emo, part punk, part rock opera and its not afraid to admit what as kids they found and loved in their dads record collections. It has elements of everything from ‘American Pie’ to the camp love injected into Queen by Freddie and Brian. This is not to say that this isn’t a serious record, latest single ‘The Black Parade’ is ‘I’m not okays’ older more mature brother and dealing with mortality and brutal body dilapidating disease told from the point of view of deathbed flashbacks is by no means an easy listen, but it is still a force to be reckoned with. The White Stripey blues of ‘House of Wolves’ perfectly encases the albums first half before it slips into the stark piano ballad of ‘Cancer’ the harshest slice of (ch)emo I’ve ever heard before stomping straight back into the bizarre ‘Mama’ perhaps the campest death march committed to record. It sounds as well as listening to Queen that Gerald and co have also been researching ‘System of a Down’ and sneaking a peep at the songbooks of Nick Cave and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. It almost has a feel of pissed pirates burying a leader awash with rum fuelled shanties and superstitions of deaths ritualistic traditions upheld to see the corpse has an easy transition to the nether world but not before dwelling on regrets, memories, failings and fulfilled dreams. With a mixture of influences and musical nods it is at times, although in different genres, a reminder of Terris or the Longpigs last albums for the vision it holds so dear to its heart. It slightly trips into an Offspring/Chas and Dave vibe on ‘Teenagers’ which you do get used to after a while and is really a minor criticism for an album that not only deals with such hard subjects but breaks the band so far away from any of their competitors they are practically carving their own pigeonhole into a wall of imitators and wannabes. How they will follow this album is anybody’s guess but I don’t care because for now they have delivered an amazingly emotive and musically exciting album. Long live the black parade.
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