So sometimes, a band unexpectedly comes out of the ďunderground" and unexpectedly explodes. My Chemical Romance
seemed to release their second effort, Three Cheers For Sweet
at the perfect opportunity: The teenage population of the U.S. was perfectly ready to accept a makeup wearing, faux-emo pop band, and boy did they ever release something to the complete embodiment of that in their first single, Iím Not Okay (I Promise)
. The band exploded in popularity in late 2004/early 2005, and Gerard Way (vocalist and front man) somehow grew into something of a sex symbol amongst teenage girls. I pretty much decided they just couldnít be very good, as that single was just impossibly grating and annoying. So, it was with a grain of salt that I downloaded Three Cheers
earlier this year to try to see what all the hubbub was about. What I found was a slightly impressive, but overall boring and overdone album of a limited degree of catchiness.
Surprisingly, MCR not only picks out the catchiest singles, but also veritably the best songs on the album to release. There is of course Iím Not Okay (I Promise)
, an entirely too annoying trip through unrequited love. Like much of the album here, no member is truly unique; the riffs are bland, the lead guitar lines are uninspired, the bass is essentially useless, and the drums just kind of keep time. However, Gerard does have a unique voice, and in conjunction with a group effort, keep the song slightly fresh. Helena
opens up the album, and with good reason, as it is easily the best song on the C.D. Unlike much of the album, itís fast paced and actually feels edgy, with Ray Toroís backing wails giving the song a sense of actual anguish missing from the rest of the album. The final single of any real note is The Ghost of You
, which is probably the best song after Helena
. Ditching the pop-core roots, they opt to go for an epic feel, and its in fact ruined only by the fact Way is far too whiney to pull it off. It builds to be the best song on the album, but when your lead singer wails ďAt the top of my lungs/in my arms she dies" and sounds like heís talking about his Echidna, thereís going to be a shortage of awe-inspiration.
What brings the rest of the album down is the general monotony the band gives off. The riffs are generally uninspired, and either sound like something Three Days Grace would be using for their next minor hit or a cutting room floor Thursday castaway. When they attempt to do anything particularly intelligent or interesting, its dampened by the fact they seem to want to keep the album safe, and tone down any soloís or impressive chord progressions the guitarists attempt to develop. Itís not they donít have talent, as they do show theyíre fairly skilled, they just donít seem to want
to play, and when they do let loose, itís often them trying to craft something thatís just beyond their reach.
However much the guitarists may be mediocre, the rhythm section is in general even poorer. As a general rule, the bass on this album is either inaudible or follows the guitars note for note, never trying to establish its own identity, or even make itself known. Itís an unfortunate occurrence, as the drummer actually shows plenty of skill during the course of the album. A definite highlight is the closer, I Never Told You What I Do For A Living
, where he is the only thing keeping the rather disjointed track together. While he is rarely given any chance to really show off, Bryer does have the potential to at least be a solid drummer, and while he may not be the most talented member of the group, he at least knows his limits.
The key to MCRís success is and always will be Gerard Way. Joining in on the risings ranks of high pitched singers to be making their way these days, he combines the impossibly high tone of Claudio Sanchez with the whiney nature of Adam Lazzara, and is something of a darker Patrick Stump. While his voice live may be a different story, he sounds extremely strong on the album, and is in fact the shining point, despite many detractors who point to the complete opposite. Instead of trying to be the focus of the song, he instead tries to build upon whatever sound theyíre trying to create. For example, on the rather echo-y This Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You
, he applies the same effect on his voice, and melds into the song. The melding creates a rather unique touch, and if MCR were to pull it off so well on a consistent basis, this would be quite the band indeed.
The thing is, you have to take the album for what it is. Itís slightly dark, slightly violent, slightly weird pop punk, that tries to be unique, but is generic all the same. Itís incredibly repetitive despite the variety, incredibly boring despite the eclectic ness, and altogether an album that almost could have been a triumph. Itís strange to look at this compared to their previous effort; in keeping with the language Iím using, itís at once far superior, yet less fulfilling than I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought My Your Love
. When My Chemical Romance shows promise, itís a rather entertaining and grand experience, but when they devolve into clichťs of the genre and even of themselves, you canít help but get that taste out.