Ever since 'Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge' came into public consciousness, My Chemical Romance have been riding what seems like a neverending wave of success. But when a band has success, there will be those who hate the band and claim they 'sold out'-and if their bottling at Reading Festival this year is anything to go by, MCR have quite a few haters. Album number three from the New Jersey quintet looks set to fuel the fire of hatred for some and to be loved by others. In other words 'The Black Parade' looks set to further the divide between love and hate for this band.
Opener The End.
starts the album off slowly, with an acoustic guitar and Gerard's vocals "Now come on, come all to this tragic affair..." before switching to a huge sounding
bridge, but goes back to the acoustics soon, and then alternates between the two extremes throughout the song. This variation can be said for the album in general, as there are equal doses of slow and steady, old MCR-punk and now, the pomp of Queen.
Lead single Welcome To The Black Parade
demonstrates this well, with it's slow intro leading into a repeat of epic proportions and finally giving way to their old ways of fast upbeat punk. Dead!
is one of the strongest songs on the album, written much in the vein of You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison
from their previous, aforementioned album. It is similar to House Of Wolves
which has a better use of dynamics, and is faster throughout. While a lot of songs may sound musically, not too distant from their others albums, Gerard Way uses his voice 'theatrically' to add more effect to the lyrics and makes the album stand out on its own.
While the album in general is strong throughout, there are weaker moments such as Mama
which interestingly has Liza Minelli adding guest vocals. However, these go almost unnoticed. The song sounds like MCR covering gypsy-punks Gogol Bordello: which doesn't work. Disenchanted
could be described as a dreamy pop song; but it is an uneventful and long dream and contains nothing worth telling your shrink about.
There are 'less punk-rock' songs which stands out on the album however. A piano is used to beautiful effect on the sad ballad Cancer
, and this is one of the clear highlights on the album. My Chemical Romance add new instruments to their music, with trumpets in Dead!
and strings are used to close out the album on Famous Last Words
. While taking chances with this, MCR pull it off well, by not making the new instruments having a huge part in the songs, but having a more background sound but still adding to the songs that they are used in.
In conclusion, 'The Black Parade' is a big step for what to many, is a very generic band. However, the highlights are largely where My Chemical Romance stick to what they know and throw in new elements, whether that be new instruments or new styles of music, in moderation. Famous Last Words
closes with a recurrent theme throughout MCR's music and not just exclusively on this album- "I am not afraid to walk this world alone."