Rantings, reviews and lists from a person who structures half his life around obsessing over music.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade (2006)

3.0 ★/6.0 - 6.9

For some, 2005 probably went down as the year that they struggled to make their friends and family give Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge an honest open minded listen. In retrospect, they probably would've had an easier time defending the artistic credibility of Pink. It seems today that there's nothing people enjoy hating more than snot-nosed whiny kids from suburbs who dress and act hardcore, but are actually distributing melodramatic guitar pop with whiny processed vocals: "Emo." And it's pretty easy to pigeonhole My Chemical Romance into that genre. Their neo-goth clothes, eyeliner obsessed vocalist and MTV airplay all point to peers such as The Used and Taking Back Sunday. But that's where the justification ends. Their metallic guitar wankery have Iron Maiden written all over it while their high octane energy brings to mind At The Drive In. Plus their lyrics embrace high-concept indulgences. (zombie spaghetti westerns?) With the exception of "The Ghost Of You" and "Cemetery Drive," Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge was anything but Emo.

With The Black Parade, their ambition is even more evident, through their newly enlisted horn section, devised concept complete with outfits to boot, and bizarre collaborations, including Liza Minnelli. What's more surprising are the cues taken from incluences such as Sgt. Pepper, Smashing Pumpkins and especially the 70's. On The Black Parade MCR flexes their flair for the dramatic, touching upon everything from the operatic grandeur of Queen ("Welcome To The Black Parade") to the glam stylings of T-Rex ("Teenagers"). "The End" sounds like a Roger Waters composition circa 1979. It's acoustic guitar balladry opens a floodgate of lurching, epic, heavy guitar, and we can see The Wall rising in the distance in all it's overblown glory. Following that cue, they take liberties successfully using and abusing the tried-and-true formula for the glorious power ballad. Track after track we get powerful arena worthy anthems such as "I Don't Love You", "Disenchanted", and "Cancer" that remind us what it was like when waving our lighters was not cliche, but sincere.

Sadly, the album is still rooted in MCR's established formula, which hasn't aged well in the past two years, resulting some mediocre moments that seriously drag the work down; "This Is How I Disappear", "House of Wolves" and "The Sharpest Lives" are as boring as mainstream monster rock gets and what emerges is an album that doesn't have the coherence nor consistency as their past two efforts. But still, the band is on to something here. Many didn't get to live through the age of concept albums but they really missed out: the pomp, the high concept drama, the idea that you can have something important to say and not have to take yourself too seriously. My Chemical Romance have not only completely spit in the face of anyone ready to damn them with the "Emo" tag; they've also given people of the current young generation a chance to experience the wonder and awe that we would've felt during an era long gone.

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