Review Summary: Do you enjoy simple yet masterfully executed Rock music, Angst filled lyrics delivered by a super emotional vocalist and one hell of an album that will have you listening for years to come? Songs that will help you through the darkest and most trying of t2 of 3 thought this review was well written
Let me begin by saying that I could not have selected a better first album to review on Sputnik. What is it about this 5 Piece Rock band from New Jersey that keeps me up at nights listening to all their songs, interviews, etc.? How does this album carry one through the darkest and roughest of times without losing it's strength, listen upon listen upon listen? This is what I will attempt to uncover in this review, and while MCR may have called it a day, this album will forever showcase their reign atop the world of Rock. Here is my tribute to them. My Chemical Romance is:
Gerard Way- Vocals
Mikey Way- Bass
Ray Toro- Lead Guitar, Vocals
Frank Iero- Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Bob Bryar- Drums
Hitting the major Label record of the music world hard, My Chemical Romance appeared poised to show Reprise everything in their arsenal. In one corner, you have Frank and Ray, who fluidly yet powerfully play their chords and progressions to their finest to push each track across, sprinkling in some awesome solos while they’re at it (Im Not Okay). Mikey plays his role of keeping up with the drums well, and while the genre itself doesn't call for spectacular and highly audible bass work, this album would not be the same without his steady work and occasional shines of brilliance (Give Em Hell Kid). Then, Bob, perhaps MCR's best drummer to date IMO, gives his all and shows how good he is at controlling the rhythm of the songs, most notable on tracks like Helena. And then we come to Gerard. Maybe this is because he is my inspiration, or maybe because truly is, but I feel that he is one of the best, if not THE best, vocalist/lyricist in the business, particularly in this genre. He delivers simple yet powerful lyrics, coupled with highly emotional vocal work, so you can feel exactly how Gerard himself felt when he wrote the song. This is the lifeline, the superglue, that holds this band together, and it's not hidden on this album for sure. On to the songs:
We are hit right off the bat with Gerard's tribute to his Grandmother's passing, Helena, and we are not deprived. Blaring guitars, hardhitting drums and perfectly executed vocals with rather dark but moving lyrics are all here, making this an instant classic, one of the several lifesaving tracks on this album. After you are finished digesting some of Gerard's best vocal work on the album, we come to the unique Give 'Em Hell Kid. This track, while still powerful, may very well be the worst on the album, as the verses sound autotuned (Noooooo) and the lyrics are rather generic (If you were here, I'd never have a fear), but thankfully the guitar and bass sections save this song, what with Mikey's interesting bass fills and Ray's quality strumming. Now we hit To the End, a very interesting song lyrically that seems to tackle several different topics. Gerard's vocals are solid as usual, the guitar/bass do their thing, and the drums are as sound as ever. A quality song. Track 4 You Know What they DO To Guys Like Us in Prison. Get past the title, listen to the masterful vocals of Gerard, and tell me that this isn't well done. While the subject of this song is pretty basic in itself, MCR adds just the right amount of punch to make it one of the better tracks here, and Frank's backing vocals really get a chance to shine through this one. Ahhhh the 1st single off the album, the track everyone knows, Im Not Okay (I Promise). I can't state how grateful I am for this song and video, what with it being an anthem for my High School career and always lifting me up when I was at my lowest points, and therefore this song deserves every ounce of popularity it has accumulated. By taking a topic that ALL teens go through in their lives of not fitting in/acceptance/lost love, and sprinkling in his trademark emotion vocals, Gerard creates a masterpiecce that will always define MCR for what they truly are. The music is tops too, as Ray explodes for an awesome solo and Bob destroys the pedal and crashes.
Onto the third single from the album, The Ghost of You. While very different from the rest of the album in the sense of increased maturity and darkness, this track is by no means a strike, as it shows another side to the band that is just as effective as it's energetic, angst filled side. Great vocal range from Gerard here, well written lyrics, and great work by the guitar duo here to play just the right chords to create of calm and order on the album, definitely a defining song. Track 7 The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You jumps right back into the energetic side of the album, featuring great lyrics as usual and just a fun song to listen to, quality piece. We now hit the Interlude, an instrumental 57 seconds that leads well into the next track, Thank You For the Venom. One of the top songs on the album, almost everyone can relate to the topic of people trying to shove ideas/beliefs down your throat and MCR hits this perfectly. Great Vocals, Great guitar, sound Bass, Nice lyrics=A top album track. On to Hang 'Em High. One of my faves here, the lyrics are super interesting and I sense a lot of symbolism at play here, great sound as always and definitely a top 5 track here. Now for my favorite track on the album, It's not a Fashion Statement, It's a Deathwish. Perhaps some of the best lyrics Gerard has ever written, coupled with awesome vocals, I can't begin to state how many hours I've spent on repeat digesting the meaning of this song, discovering a new relation each and every time. Frank' s riffs are well times and Ray goes nuts on the guitar, tied with Im Not Okay as top spot. Out of the frying pan and into the oven, Cemetary Drive bursts open with as much value as the previous track, featuring intensely dark lyrics well delivered by Gerard with Bob's best drumming on the album, this is in the top 3 for sure. To conclude their work, My CHem throws in I Never Told You What I Do For a Living, which is extremely catchy and continues the trend of symbolic lyrics that are left open to listeners for wide interpretation, great note to end on.
Overall, simply an epic album by an awesome band whose mark left will always live on in the Rock/Emo genre, not only did it save my life, It immersed me into music and I highly recommend, grab this album, you will not be disappointed.
Top Songs: Helena, Im Not Okay, Its Not a Fashion Statement, Cemetary Drive