The Black Parade – My Chemical Romance

As part of the promotion for my new EP, Demos from Safety, I’m posting reviews of some of the works which inspired each song on the album. I didn’t know that you could end a song by just smashing everything together into a multifaceted waltz-time cacophony until I heard MCR’s “The End.” That’s the way I ended up completing my song “Concrete“. Here’s hoping that technique gets more usage!

This album means so much to me. My god, it’s so damn beautiful. My Chemical Romance moved from using death to scare the listener to writing an album about the meaning of death itself; if you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of life, this album is for you. The harmony is legendary, from the perfect mode mixture of “Sleep” (which, in the chorus, manages to use Ab, C, and E major chords to perfect effect) to the incredibly hard-hitting angelic chorus of “Famous Last Words”. Every single song on this album deserves a Congressional Medal of Freedom. “Mama” opens on a section that alternates between fun, creepy folk with an i-V riff and a blissfully intense Phrygian chorus that’s simultaneously joyous and the opposite of that; it ends with a phenomenal waltz section featuring LIZA MINELLI that concludes with the song you’ll really believe that the damned sing. “Cancer” is a song I’m personally attached to that is just perfect, with just incredible vocals and beautiful harmony focusing on the VIb, ostensibly in a major key. I could just gush endlessly about every song on this album, from the crown jewel, “Welcome to the Black Parade”, which not only creates a very specific type of marble-like harmony and turns it into a dream, but contains the single best tempo changes of all time, to the songs on this album reminiscent of their previous work, “The Sharpest Lives” and “This Is How I Disappear”, which have great grooves and use their wild minor riffing to perfectly convey the bitterness integral to their message. You’ve also got “The End.”, because every rock opera must begin with a short waltz track and MCR decided to crank it up to eleven; “House of Wolves”, because swing time was created solely for Gerard Way to tear it apart; “I Don’t Love You”, the loudest breakup song there ever was; “Dead!”, because relentlessly insulting a terminal cancer patient absolutely deserves the most joyous guitar you can think of; and “Teenagers”, an incredible song known for a bombastic groove created by ingeniously fragmented vocal lines reminiscent of a goddamn nursery rhyme. The guitars on this album are absolutely incredible, a perfect example of emotional playing with wonderful melodic composition; people talk about guitars “weeping”, but you haven’t heard guitars do that until you’ve heard the solo on “I Don’t Love You”. I don’t know what happens after you die, and I don’t know what death says about life, but this album has enriched my life deeply.

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