Friday, January 4, 2008

My Chemical Romance - "The Black Parade"

I know I've already made a post for MCR's song Welcome to the Black Parade, but I made that post before I fell in love with this group's other amazing songs. Later I posted about I Don't Love You after falling in love with the music video. Now that I've purchased almost the entire album off iTunes and become obsessed with almost every track, I feel like writing an album review for My Chemical Romance's latest album, The Black Parade ... otherwise, I may end up writing individual posts for each track, and this just seems much easier.

There really is not a weak track on this album. This group is extremely talented, and it's as if they don't enter the recording studio or set out to film a music video unless they feel strongly about the song and are willing to put in one hundred and ten percent in order to make it the best it can be. And, so far, this passion for their work has produced brilliant songs, albums and music videos time and time again. Not to sound biased or anything (they are my favorite band, after all) ... but I think these guys are simply amazing, and The Black Parade certainly doesn't disappoint. While I enjoy some tracks more than others for personal reasons, I think the album as a whole is simply spectacular.
Another thing I find interesting about this album is that is has a ... "plot", almost. The entire album is basically the story of a man - often referred to as "the patient" - who is dying of a terminal illness. Some songs - such as Cancer and Dead! - are obviously referring to death, but the relevance of others - such as Teenagers and The Sharpest Lives - are less obvious, and you have to think a little harder about how they tie in to the patient's story. I find the fact that this album is all tied together very unique, very creative ... I've never heard of it being done before, and I like it.

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade

1. The End. - lyrically, this song is absolutely stunning, as are most on the album; some of the vocabulary in these songs make you wonder how many hours these guys spent trying to make the words come out "just right". And boy, they nail it every time, and this song is no exception. A slower track, the vocals and the guitar riffs seem to blend together beautifully. A great start to the album.
2. Dead! - This song is not as lyrically strong as some others, in my opinion, but it's got a strong beat and melody that is maybe more "pop" than the rest of the album ... but still remains darker in true MCR style. A good track overall, but not stellar, in my opinion.
3. This Is How I Disappear - This song is powerful from the opening symbol crash and guitar solo until the last screaming lyrics fade away. Much harsher than the preceding tracks, the band showed the broad range of their talents in this one ... the guitar solos are amazing, as are the vocals; I love how the bridge goes from a spooky, haunted feel into the screaming in the last verses. And, once again, the lyrics are spectacular; not many groups think of using words such as séance in their lyrics.
4. The Sharpest Lives - the minute you hear the dark, staccato guitar at the beginning of this song, you know this track has a dark message. The vocals and the echo of the first verses hold to that eerie tone, and the rhythmic verses hold your attention. When the chorus explodes in electric guitars and symbol crashes, you receive the full effect of this song. Special effects with the vocals and amazing lyrics make this song truly unique. The track ends with the same staccato guitars, and while you know the track has ended, you almost feel as if something was left unsaid.
5. Welcome to the Black Parade - when this song opens with a soft, melancholy keyboard solo, you anticipate a softer track ahead; a break from the dark sounds of the preceding songs. It picks up a bit with a marching band snare, and even when the first verse is repeated - this time, screamed into the microphone - it's not as harsh as the other tracks. It does eventually pick up in intensity, but it never achieves the same dark sound as some other tracks on the album. But, at the same time, the sound of this track suits the lyrics and the emotion behind them.
6. I Don't Love You - the first ballad on the album, this song is truly heartbreaking. This isn't just another break-up song; as the verses and chorus progress, you feel each emotion - denial, regret, and finally, anger - as if you were going through this loss yourself. Each lyric and note is presented beautifully, with the kind of passion in which MCR is undeniably brilliant.
7. House of Wolves - I don't think the lyrics of this song are the strong point. I actually think it's the rhythm of this song that makes this song so unique. A steady tom drum echoes throughout the song, and the electric guitars scream an almost swing-style beat; this song is almost jazzy. The absolutely phenomenal guitar solos in this song set it apart. Not my favorite on the album, but definitely not one to be overlooked.
8. Cancer - the keyboard at the beginning delivers the heart wrenching mood of this song from the first note. As the song goes on, the drum beats pick up, but the song never loses its overwhelmingly sad feel. A bitter sweet, beautiful song, especially if you can relate to the lyrics. As always, the band presents this song with a passion that cannot be ignored.
9. Mama - again, a darker track. The staccato intro gives you an immediate feel for the mood of this song, and the lyrics are presented in similar style. I don't think the style in which they sang this song suits the band as much as some of their other tracks, but at the same time, you can't deny that they pulled it off pretty well. Definitely not my favorite, but you got to give the band credit for branching out in the style of their songs.
10. Sleep - when this song opens in a scratchy tape recording, you know this is a unique track as well. The keyboard joins in shortly after the recording begins, again locking in a mood for the song. Before the first verse, the song picks up as the drums and guitars join in. Once again, this song is extremely strong lyrically. I think the vocals are presented extremely well on this track as well, and the tape recording is a beautiful touch that ties the song together.
11. Teenagers - a very different sound for this band; the melody is definitely one that can get stuck in your head for days. Throughout the verses, a strong base drum keeps time while the rest of the instruments quiet down; the chorus gives the electric guitars a chance to shine, while the vocals are well-presented throughout. A debatable song as far as the lyrics, many people may be turned off by the cursing. But after you understand the message behind the lyrics, you can truly appreciate what this group is trying to tell the world.
12. Disenchanted - an acoustic introduction! A real change from the other tracks on The Black Parade. When the bass and electric join in in the second verse, you get a better feel for the emotion behind the song. More background vocals are featured on this track, which is also a change. This song is full of passion as well; a slower track, but still very powerful, with a shot of reminiscence.
13. Famous Last Words - again, a different sound for MCR. This song is definitely similar in styling to the hard rock heroes of the eighties; one listen to the guitar solos and you'll see what I mean. This song once again opening with a staccato guitar, which by this point in the album listeners may begin to associate with their darker tracks. The powerful lyrics of this track along with the classic rock & roll sound make it a standout.
14. Blood (Hidden Track) - it's a hidden track; of course it's not going to be stellar. Personally, I think recording this track was more for the band's enjoyment rather than trying to make another hit single. Listening to this song reminds you of demon clowns or murder in a chocolate shop ... like it should be on the soundtrack for a musical about an axe murderer. It's got that innocent rhythm with a sinister edge. Quite amusing to listen to, actually; good for a laugh, if nothing else.

Interested in hearing more MCR? I encourage you to find out more about them; they really are an amazing band.

The lyrics for all the songs on all of My Chemical Romance's albums and more can be found on this website.

The songs on MCR's album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004) are amazing as well. Two I'd recommend looking into are Helena and The Ghost of You.

I'll also post the music video for Famous Last Words so you can listen to one of their darker, harsher tracks. Even if you don't like this song, I'd encourage you to look at My Chemical Romance's other tracks; they are unique in that they are not afraid to try out different styles, and they are talented enough to pull of each one quite nicely. So, please, take a listen, and tell me what you think.

My Chemical Romance - Famous Last Words Music Video

Wow ... that was a hideously long review.
My appologies :)


Love Always Reno said...

lol nice thoughoity. which is officially a word, love the review, I agree MCR rocks hard core

Smithers said...

Absolutely the best band ever!

Amy said...

Something I wanted to mention. . .being a My Chem fan you may already no this: While filming the "Famous Last Words" video, Ray got his butt caught on fire. . .and you can acctually see it happen in the video o_0! At about 4:07 in. . .it's pretty scary. He was in hte hospital with BAD burns for a while after that.