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Building a timeless legacy is a near impossible feat. To live on in others' hearts after you are gone is something we all strive for; it is the human form of immortality. Such an immense task it is to create that endless recognition, surely only the greatest of the great can achieve it.
The answer is both yes and no. Yes, it does take someone great to live on forever in such a way. But you don't have to be a legend to live on in others' memories. Anyone can be immortal. All that they have to do is live their life as they want to and be who they are - live life how you wish to be remembered.
People may struggle with that, and then, in turn, those who help them realize otherwise become the ones who will live on in their hearts. For millions upon millions, that's My Chemical Romance. Their music gave both the happy and the sad a place to confide in, whether for enjoyment or for hope.
It's been three years since the band called it quits. Some may have called it the end of something life-changing, but can such a thing really just come to an end? Just because they have stated that they are no longer a group together, their messages and music will always be here, perhaps more alive than ever. That hasn't changed just because the band won't be releasing new material again.
It's been a decade since their magnum opus The Black Parade was released, so we've been reviewing all of their records from start to end this month: I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, and, of course, The Black Parade. We've now reached the end of the road (barring Conventional Weapons, but we'll save that for another time). The band saw a lot of change, from the punk abrasion of their debut to the anthemic, theatrical chaos of The Black Parade, but what they last offered up was something you might not have expected from them.
Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys is My Chemical Romance's final album, released in 2010. It may be the band's most eclectic record, but it also isn't all that unfamiliar. In true MCR fashion, the record tells a story throughout its runtime. It's set in post-apocalyptic California, now in the Land Of The Fabulous Killjoys, where the rambunctious are the world's leaders while the outliers hide back in the shadows and stay quiet.
The clearest innovation on this record (for the band) is the emphasis on electronic elements. My Chemical Romance had never really delved into this space; their music took guitars and melody as their primary source of appeal, with the occasional funky instrumentation and piano finding their way into the music. The same band that wrote 'Welcome To The Black Parade' is the band performing 'Planetary (GO!)' on this record, the video game boss sirens introducing the track as glitchy electronics and sweeping synths fill the verses before the upbeat, dancey choruses kick in with bouncy beats and rhythm guitar punches in between. The message behind the track is essentially that life is short (the first chorus croons "If my velocity starts to make you sweat / Then just don't let go / And if their Heaven ain't got a vacancy / Then we just... get up and go," encouraging its listener to just get up and do what they want to with life), but it's evident throughout the track that the meaning isn't really meant to be the focus of the track. It serves its narrative purpose, but the main goal of the track is to get you amped up and get you dancing, pairing it with the bouncy synths and electrifying energy. The scenario is the same in 'S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W,' which shows a side to the band we've never gotten a good taste of. It's goody and has a sort of uncaring abandon to it - it's powerful and ballad-y just like it should be, but it's lacking of any darkness (in sound). The chorus is sung falsetto, the light vocals and bright instrumental making the song sound happy.
Electronica has a major influence on the record, making it stand out among the rest of the band's discography. It's also the build of 'The Only Hope For Me Is You,' its pretty, wavy intro leading into thick bassy synths that can be comparable to CHVRCHES in today's music. The choruses are closer to the MCR we'd all grown to love, rhythm guitar chugging with drive, the synth arpeggios running beneath them and Gerard Way's sweet melody. The song plays to a theme of the record that no matter how crazy the world may seem, you can always find your place in it and find the person you're meant to live in it with.
The album is completely electronic, of course; MCR does a fantastic job of blending their alternative rock flair with their new fascination with electronics. The best example is iconic single 'SING,' its intro up there with some of the band's most memorable moments. The verse is a brooding build as synths slowly grow over each other before a sweet instrumental underlies Way's encouraging chorus. The song has a drama to it that's very reminiscent of their past works, the drums and piano really creating urgency and even some darkness in the track. The bridge brings it back to basics, Ray Toro taking over with a confident guitar riff with layers of guitar that build up to make the bridge powerful and immense. It's one big call to arms, bringing all together to be free.
'Summertime' is a sweeter song that's not out to hype anyone up. It's just as good a blend of electronica as 'SING' is, perhaps with a bit more emphasis on the electronics, but it's remarkably more cheerful. The guitar solo in the bridge pairs with the bright, subtle synths perfectly. The song sees Gerard singing "if you stay I would even wait all night / Or until my heart explodes" in an almost confessional way, crooning about how love and his wife got him through some truly rough spots in life.
The track 'Bulletproof Heart' is the spiritual predecessor of 'Summertime,' though this one has more finality to it than hope. It actually feels like the appropriate summation of the end of My Chemical Romance. The unintentional foreshadowing unfortunately did not end up making saying goodbye any easier, but it does provide justification. The chorus has the submissive lines "Gravity / Don't mean too much to me / I'm who I've got to be," Way admitting that the intensity of the situation is of less significance than what it build him up to be. He isn't bounded by the laws or expectations everyone has of him; he has lived his own life and has become what he wanted to become, and that's all that matters to him in the end. The song ends in a huge, uplifting way, the choruses' Queen-esque harmonies pairing with a guitar solo to bring it to its dramatic, emotional ending. This song could've closed the record in an ironic but brilliant way.
With all of this sentimentality, we can't ignore the heavier, rawer tracks on the record. We don't see many with pure rock flair, but where it does exist, it's awesome. 'DESTROYA' is one example, the raw, tribal beat pairing with a vocal delivery full with reckless abandon à la the Beastie Boys, lovely guitar that imitates the vocal melody in the final choruses. The lead single 'Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)' (that took very careful counting) also has a rawer voicing to it, and while the whole "na na na" part of the song can be hard to swallow at first, they do grow on you and make the song all the much better. The guitar riff is all the hype, the chorus harmonies also making the song special. It's an underdog song, much like 'DESTROYA,' calling upon the dreamers who "want to change the world" to get out there and do it.
I claimed that 'Bulletproof Heart' could've been the perfect ending to the record, but the way it does end isn't all that bad. 'The Kids From Yesterday' is uplifting in the best of ways, the chorus lyrics really hitting hard in particular: "And you only live forever in the lights you make / When we were young we used to say / That you only hear the music when your heart begins to break / Now we are the kids from yesterday," stating that you can't live forever in a literal sense: you live in the memories you make. People may not recognize the significance of those memories every moment, but when you need something to rely on, they'll be there. Dr. Death, the radio show host that appeared in narrative interludes throughout the record signs out on 'Goodnite, Dr. Death' with a concert band performance of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' that concludes in earsplitting noise (thanks, MCR) before the final track 'Vampire Money' rolls in.
This is it - the final song in the band's discography (not counting the collections released after this record or bonus track 'Zero Percent'). Take a second to absorb that in, then forget all about it in the crazy fun of 'Vampire Money.' Way's obsession with death and its carriers followed him all the way to the end of the band. The album's closer a crazy and unrelenting in the classic My Chemical Romance fashion, the pure rock n' roll vibes and surfer rock solo blasting confidently with the same energy and craziness of 'Party Poison' with its Japanese spoken word and electronic explosiveness. 'Vampire Money' is a blast on the media, but like mentioned before, the meaning is almost lost in the track's sound. It's a big, confident, fun ending to a legacy that will live forever.
That concludes the story of My Chemical Romance. The final words of 'Vampire Money': "This party, I think it's way too loud. Going to have to turn it down a little, sorry" in an ironically innocent note. The band who both cheated and romanticized death "die" in a party on a light note. Perhaps that's what it was: this crazy, wild ride was a party. We had fun, we had emotions (at times just drunken euphoria, really), and at the end of all, we had to admit when we had had enough before we got ahead of ourselves.
My Chemical Romance is an entity that will never die, despite their constant obsession with death. They told brilliant stories and sent assuring messages to those who needed them. This band saved lives and gave light to others. The band may not be more than a memory, but sometimes memories are all we need. Their meaning will never be lost as long as we cherish what made them so important to us in our hearts for as long as we can remember them. Thanks for the music, My Chemical Romance. May we meet again one day - in heaven or hell, or maybe even here on Earth is yet to be seen, but we all know that the end is never really the end.
Favorite Tracks: Bulletproof Heart, Sing, DESTROYA, The Only Hope For Me Is You, The Kids From Yesterday
Least Favorite Tracks: The interludes (especially Goodnite and it's earsplitting screeching)
Rating: 95 / 100
Ten years really isn't that long. Sure, a lot has changed in the last decade, but looking back upon it, ten years has come and gone, just like that. We're all here, all breathing, reading these words.
The Black Parade was released ten years ago, however, and it has made enough impact to last several lifetimes. It has since become a quintessential alternative rock album, as well as the crux of My Chemical Romance's discography. This rock opera defined a generation of individuals and inspired even more.
The Black Parade is much different than the band's two former records. We've reviewed I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love and Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, both albums serving as important precursors to this one. Both shared a narrative, at least partially, about two lovers chased down, one killed and offering his soul up to the devil in the hopes of seeing his lover one more time. They established My Chemical Romance's obsession with death and its resulting intricacies and emotions, which carries forward into The Black Parade, but in a different way.
The Black Parade isn't about cheating death, but rather it's a celebration of it; an acceptance, even. The rock opera follows the final weeks of The Patient and his battles with the realization of his death. The music represents the chaos and the degradation of it all, vividly portrayed through both the lyrics and the instrumentals themselves.
From beginning to end, this record has endless personality. It comes in different tastes and forms throughout the record while staying cohesive. It begins with 'The End.', anthemically and theatrically introducing the record with a folky acoustic guitar as Gerard Way introduces the album on a light note before the big melodic guitars come in to give the record its anthemic edge. Not long after, 'Dead!' kicks in a more upbeat note, the impressive guitar work paired with a funky overtone. A brass section gives the bridge an extra punch as an anthemic guitar solo kicks into bring the song to its sing-a-long ending.
The record hasn't specifically treaded into death yet. The premise of 'The End.' is to live life to your own terms, not for someone else or by effect. The Patient learns that he has two weeks left to live in the track, and in his denial he tries to combat it by stating that he will live life as he wants to. 'Dead!' follows through on a note with more finality - The Patient thinking of his insecurities he experienced throughout his life.
Things start becoming more real with 'This Is How I Disappear', where the song takes an emotional route and sees The Patient reaching out to his lover, claiming that without her, he is nothing. A sweet sentiment on the surface, but once you then remember he's dying, the tragedy of the situation teally strikes. The song is very emotionally charged, it's immense bridge standing out above the rest of its body. The other song that's utterly heartbreaking is 'Cancer' - everyone's heard this one, so, by effect, everyone's heart has been moved by it. It's impossible to not be affected by the pure agony in Way's voice, whether it be the creaky "Turn away / If you could, get me a drink / Cause my lips are chapped and faded" and or the emotional outburst of "I will not kiss you, because the hardest part of this is leaving you," this song is packed with emotion as The Patient crumbles after learning that it's cancer that's slowly killing him.
Heartbreak, surprisingly, isn't discussed as much as it could be in The Black Parade. 'I Don't Love You' is the other track that delves into that subject, the wholly sweet track seeing The Patient beg his lover to end their relationship before he dies. It's beautifully simple, as well as relatable in the sense that you never want to have to be the one who makes that move.
The album tackles different aspects of dying, instead of keying in on the love side: there's self-destruction, wishing for a second chance, and reflection. There's only one song that doesn't fall under these categories: 'Mama', which steps away from the story of The Patient and instead follows a soldier at war who knows death is upon him, writing a letter to his mother in hopes of mending his relationship with his mother. The song's creepy, dark funkiness sets the soldier's ill fate, the sad crying of his mother indicating his death at the end of the track.
The want of escaping pain is a common element of death. That's discussed in 'The Sharpest Lives', the iconic guitar intro leading into a powerful song that climaxes at its bridge. The lyrics are just fantastic, describing a patient (not necessarily the story's protagonist) finding solace in self-destructive drinking and partying. The chorus is full of amazing metaphors and lyrics: "Give me a shot to remember / And you can take all the pain away from me / A kiss and I will surrender / The sharpest lives are the deadliest to lead / A light to burn all the empires / So bright the sun is ashamed to rise and be / In love with all of these vampires / So you can leave like the sane abandoned me" is voiced powerfully above the heavy guitars.
The Patient takes time to reflect on his life in a couple songs, too. 'Sleep' sounds soft to start before building into a huge ending, with powerful screams throwing it back to the band's previous records. The Patient reflects on how death is stopping him from achieving the dreams he had. In another track, 'House Of Wolves', The Patient wonders about whether he will be sent to Heaven or to Hell above the groovy, brooding, and confident track, its huge choruses elevating the song to epic heights. On a less serious tone, while reflecting on his teenage years, The Patient feels that teens are mistreated and discriminated against, fitting the rebellious vibe of 'Teenager'. He also reaches the conclusion, amongst all these past realizations, that life really isn't all that much in 'Disenchanted'.
Everything comes together at the song that's the core of the album, and to a greater extent, the core of both the band and the genre. That song is the incredible 'Welcome To The Black Parade', a true masterpiece. There's not a single person who won't immediately recognize the song after the first note from its iconic piano intro begins. The Patient comes closer to death than he does at any other point on the album in this song, reliving his sweetest memory in his mind: him and his father watching a parade. There's just so much about this song that makes death seem like not such a bad thing (when it's inevitable). The intro confidently chants "When I was a young boy / My father took me into the city / To see a marching band..." as The Patient discusses the memory. It becomes an incredibly uplifting track as a result of both the instrumental and Way's vocal delivery. There's so much power and confidence in his voice, it's like he's right there next to you, telling you that "We'll carry on / And though you're dead and gone, believe me / Your memory will carry on." It's a celebration of life as much as it is a song about death. It's truly not easy to qualify or quantify just how powerful this song is. It'll always stick by you when you need it there for you, which is one of the best qualities a song can have.
The album comes to its thrilling conclusion in 'Famous Last Words', the album's most empowering track. It was originally written not for the record, but for Gerard's brother, bassist Mikey Way, who battled depression and anxiety and was about ready to quit everything. Upon hearing this track, he agreed to do what he set out to do: live his dream. That's exactly what The Patient does: persevere. This song is the will to live returning to him, as he will not let his life end in this way. He has dreams to live, people to love, things to experience. 'Famous Last Words' ends the record on an epic note, everything from the powerful, driven beat and the electrifying guitar solo to the immense vocals lifts you up and makes you feel like you can do something. The final chorus chants "I see you lying next to me / With words I thought I'd never speak / Awake and unafraid / Asleep or dead," the final, crushing words. Yes, The Patient does die. His lover is there next to him on his death bed as he says his final words to her, his emotions all coming out. The Patient may leave Earth, but he will always live on in the hearts of everyone he loved - that is the essence of death. You leave, but you will live on to others as long as you light that fire bright when you're alive.
The Black Parade is an album amongst albums. It has casual listening appeal and a heartbreaking story in it that provides a thought provoking experience. In the end of it all, however, it's an album full of songs that can truly mean something to someone. These songs have saved lives and given hope to them. They've inspired millions and will forever be buried within their hearts. That's why we're here, ten years later, after My Chemical Romance has been broken up for three years. They will never die because they lit a fire in fans' hearts that will never fade. Take it from MCR: live life to the fullest so that when you die, you'll always be there besides someone. Light your fire and let it burn.
Favorite Tracks: Welcome To The Black Parade, Famous Last Words, The Sharpest Lives, Cancer
Least Favorite Track: Sleep
Rating: 97 / 100
Last week, we reviewed My Chemical Romance's debut record, the punk precursor to their emo takeover I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, which you can read here. The album follows the story of two "demolition lovers," who run from the authorities who are trying to capture them. In the end, he is killed and sent to hell while his lover continues to live.
Or so you thought. The narrative doesn't intentionally continue throughout the band's followup, but it certainly carries on the theme. Besides the story, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge is a largely stronger album than its predecessor, freshening up the band's sound and moving them towards the sound they became known for.
The album generally drops the complex song structures and generally raw, abrasive nature of I Brought You My Bullets. Instead, MCR is met with an album in which Gerard Way described as "pseudo-conceptual horror story." It's largely a tale of personal disaster: the hardships of life, the struggle of love, and even the grief of losing a loved one. All of this is done with an innovative album caught in the crossfire between punk rock and the rising pop punk and emo movement.
The remnants of I Brought You My Bullets can still be found throughout the album. The most similar-sounding song is 'Its Not's A Fashion Statement, It's A Fucking Deathwish', which not-so-coincidentally was the first song written after the release of the former record. The song discusses a love that doesn't fade, whether or not it was a good or bad thing. Similar elements of the song to its precursors are its rawer guitar and forward propulsion set forward by the drumming. What makes it part of Three Cheers is its conscious sense of melody. The former had concentration on the workings of the song rather than its sound. 'Give 'Em Hell, Kid' is another track with a similar punk rock vibe, but in a much more refined way, the production of style of Three Cheers aiding it. The verses are crazy and full of surprises, the choruses strong and melodic, all leading to a giant ending. The album did earn the band a reputation, but it was this record that truly skyrocketed them.
The album's singles are also to thank for the band's popularity being sent into momentum. Listening to this album today, it's hard to not sing along to the anthemic chorus of 'Helena' that chants "What's the worst thing I can say? Things are better if I stay / So long and goodnight." It's almost as iconic as the piano intro of 'Welcome To The Black Parade', but in a sing-a-long sort of way rather than being the defining song of emo rock. The beautiful lyrics and melodies are backed by a thrilling, alternative rock instrumental. The lyrics somewhat relate to the demolition lovers, as the character reminds herself that anger won't get her anywhere past the grief of losing her lover.
The other singles also make it clear how this album was important for the band. 'The Ghost Of You' features beautifully clean and haunting verses as Way dramatically sings before the big choruses that display the refined rage and sorrow the demolition lover feels not that he is lost without his other half. The way the guitar imitates the "Never coming home, never coming home" part that still rings as powerfully as it did over a decade ago. Lead single 'I'm Not Okay (I Promise)' is a more personal track that steps away from the demolition lovers' narrative, the pop rock song tackling a very "teenage" issue: a girl who is having troubles with her boyfriend asks the narrator who is dealing with his own problems in his life, puts them aside to help her just to be ignored. The girl loves all these "deep" songs but can't see the real problems of life, as the narrator tries to explain. The true alternative rock vibe of the song was enough to burst that era into a new frontier.
On a heavier ground, 'Thank You For The Venom' was the single that showed that My Chemical Romance still had the capability to produce great, heavy tracks with a rebellious statement. The thick guitar riffs (including the one in the intro) give the song an extra thickness that the rest of the album doesn't have. It discusses fear and helplessness, as well as sending a blasting messages to record labels who don't understand that the bands want to be part of their fans, too.
It's not all black and white on this record, though. There's some moments that stand out more than others. 'You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison' starts off groovy that ends wild and rambunctiously has interesting artistic choices (especially in the second verse) and features lots of cool little moments and elements that make it unique. There's a Western-vibe to 'Hang 'Em High', likely inspired by Way's enticement with Clint Eastwood (since this song shares a title with one of his movies). The western intro is followed by thrashing guitars and drums that ultimately come together throughout the rest of the song leading to a cluster of noise in the end. It preaches that you should never stop fighting.
Three Cheers doesn't shy away from more personal and intense topics, however. A "jetset" is a lifestyle that is defined by frequent traveling and drug use. This is exactly what Gerard Way struggled with whilst touring, almost dying in Japan in 2004. This experience and coming clean led to 'The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You', a song that really speaks for itself once you understand the story. The rock vibe of the instrumental that sounds similar to a Weezer track acts as a support for the message and the big vocals. On another note is 'Cemetery Drive', the light melody and vibe shadowing the meaning: coping with life after a loved one commits suicide. The instrumental is great and really supports the track's lost demeanor, the chorus beautifully yet simply doing the same with its chants of "I miss you, I miss you so far / And the collision of your kiss that made it so hard."
It all comes back to the narrative of I Brought You My Bullets. Lots of tracks have references to the story: the loss of a loved one in 'Helena', the convict that is coping with failing mental health in 'You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison', and the living lover being unaware of the deal the dead one made with the devil in 'Give 'Em Hell, Kid'. The only song that fully delves into the story is closing track 'I Never Told You What I Do For A Living'. The song combines the best of the elements of I Brought You My Bullets and Three Cheers: the complex structure and the convicted vocals of Bullets paired with the power of the vocals and production style of Three Cheers makes this song a true monster.
Filled to the brim with sweet melodies, big moments, and epic screams, the song exhibits the raw emotions of the demolition lovers as the main character fulfills his deal with the devil: killing a thousand evil souls so that he can once again see his lover. The lyrics deal with how the murders slowly become justified in the name of love, the narrator asking his lover to free him from the burden. The devil tricks him, in the end: the last soul he must kill is himself, expressed in the lyrics "Down / And down we go / And we all fall down" sung in a growing rage that builds to a vicious scream, ending in the heartbreaking yet simple screams of "I tried". The beautiful clean chorus defeatedly cries "And never again / And never again / They gave us two shots to the back of the head / And we're all dead now." The lines repeat with more energy until its last repetition, sounding more like dying words than a proclamation of victory. Whether or not he gets to see his lover again is up to interpretation, but the beautiful story comes to an end here.
My Chemical Romance's romanticization of death becomes clear in this album and continues under a different light in the one that follows. Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge ends the tragic tale of the demolition lovers in a burning and vivid conclusion. I personally like to believe they did see each other again, but the devil brought them both back to hell - the last words of the album ending with a bittersweet apology to her, but a gratefulness amongst them both that they are united once again. That's the beauty of this band - they can tell a vivid story with no clear ending but still have it be a masterpiece. Three Cheers was the start of their sound's evolution and a solidification of their songwriting ability, and all of that only improved as they progressed, and we all know where they went from there.
Favorite Tracks: I Never Told You What I Do For A Living, The Ghost Of You, Helena
Least Favorite Track: Interlude
Rating: 91 / 100
The Black Parade defined not only an era, but a generation. It was part of everyone's soundtrack in the mid-2000s, whether it was the heartwrenching piano chords of 'Cancer' or the iconic piano intro of 'Welcome To The Black Parade'. It was revolutionary, powerful, and generally one hell of an album.
Its been ten years since it was released. With its tenth anniversary just a month away, The Black Parade memorabilia is coming through. Next week, My Chemical Romance will be releasing a double LP: The Black Parade / Living With Ghosts, featuring the album on one side and demos from the era on another. This week comes in the form of a dedication album. Rock Sound has brought together a number of big artists to cover songs from The Black Parade. It's a cool project, but not everything is as good as it may seem...
1) One OK Rock - The End.: Starting off fresh is perhaps one of Japan's most well established rock bands, One OK Rock with the opening track, 'The End.' It's a pretty great cover as an opener, but also a bit misleading. The song has great little subtle differences hidden in between the more notable ones. The song's performance adds electronic elements in between the cleaner moments, the contrast between the soft and heavy moments becoming that much greater. What's misleading is how original and good the cover is: having it at the start makes you think some new interpretations of these classic songs are coming, not completely changing them yet adding something new... (92 / 100)
2) Escape The Fate - Dead!: ...sadly, that isn't the case, as seen in Escape The Fate's cover of 'Dead!' It's pretty much an except copy of the original, without much change to it. It has a great guitar solo, but that's as much credit as you can give it. The vocals don't quite give it the same punch, either. It feels like a standard cover band cover, and nothing else. (74 / 100)
3) Creeper - This Is How I Disappear: On the subject of vocals, Creeper's cover of 'This Is How I Disappear' has perhaps the least-fitting vocals on this entire record. It goes in with the nature of Creeper - the vocals are trying to sound creepy and condescending, and it simply doesn't work with the song. The instrumental is incredibly weak, as well. The vocals are half of the mix, and the instrumental is barely any louder than them, making it have little impact. (51 / 100)
4) State Champs - The Sharpest Lives: In the same scenario as Escape The Fate, this song stays even closer to the original than 'Dead!' did. The little guitar punches in the verses aren't as spidery as they were in the original, being fatter and bassier, an subtle but odd difference. the guitar solo is great, and they nailed the bassline underneath it. (70 / 100)
5) Crown The Empire - Welcome To The Black Parade: It's impossible to create a cover that truly does this song justice, but Crown The Empire didn't even try. It's almost painful to listen to this cover. It's completely uninspired, drained of emotion, and takes away all of the original charm of the song. They couldn't so much as try and take out the hammers of the piano hitting the strings as they play the intro. It's worse than a cover band. It really makes you appreciates the small things in the original song that may seem insignificant, but really made the track what it was. They didn't even do the guitar leads in the intro! It's nothing more than a badly rehearsed cover by a cover band you'd see in a bar setting. (35 / 100)
6) Moose Blood - I Don't Love You: Moose Blood amassed a pop punk following leading up to their release of their debut LP Blush - read our review of it here - and brought pop punk back in a new yet familiar light. 'I Don't Love You' meets all the criteria to be a banging pop punk song, and Moose Blood took it and made it just that. With Eddy Brewton's reckless abandon in his vocals, the vocals worry more about emotion than hitting the notes, giving the song a fresh new revival in sweet and warm colors. (88 / 100)
7) Palisades - House Of Wolves: Another song that's received a rebirth in a brand new light. Palisades brings a great blend of intensity and electronica, the verses quite and choruses explosive. The original had an off-kilter, funky composure to it, while Palisades brought a groovier rendition on this cover album. It sounds very modern - if The Black Parade was released in 2016, this is definitely what 'House Of Wolves' would've sounded like. The massive chants of "S-I-N-I-S-I-N" bring a huge conclusion to the song. It's one of the most original covers on the record, without a doubt. (94 / 100)
8) Twenty One Pilots - Cancer: There wasn't a better band to cover this song. No one else but Josh Dun could capture the somber and accepting tone that Gerard Way sang the song in better. The song's a melancholy build of piano and a light drum electronic beat, while Dun's vocals dance a tragic dance in a symphony of vocoders and reverberating words through a cavernous atmosphere. Some would argue that the cover abandons the original's premise and mood with the electronic elements, but its subtlety makes it just as powerful in a different light. It captures all of the beautiful of the original while still remaining catchy, especially in the amazing part after the chorus where samples of Dun singing "I will not kiss you, lips are chapped and faded, call my..." as they echo and float away. The ending reprises it, and the final piano chord resonates and fades away, as if its acceptance and resignation of the narrator. It's truly beautiful. (97 / 100)
9) Ghost Town - Mama: 'Mama' was always a weird song. Ghost Town made their cover of the song weird, but a bit too weird. It's a cool cover, but it tries too hard to create the mood of the original by adding a bunch of different elements. The creepy keyboard part in the verses is cool, albeit overused. It's encouraged for a band to not stick too close to the original, yet Ghost Town sounds like they had to deliberately try to make something like they did. It explodes just like the original does at the end and has the same vibe, for what its worth. It's a good cover, just... a bit too much. (75 / 100)
10) New Years Day - Sleep: Female vocals! It's great to hear someone of the opposite sex tackling the classics on the album, especially when she brings a badass rendition of 'Sleep'. New Years Day's Ashley Costello sings and screams powerful atop soaring and heavy choruses, truly bringing out the best of alternative metal, resulting in a massive, melodic, and epic cover. The guitar solo combined with her screams are just excellent as they kick into one last explosion to end the track. An awesome cover, no doubt. (96 / 100)
11) Against The Current - Teenagers: Against The Current brings in more female vocals into the mix, their groovy and fun alternative rock vibes to record. Their debut album In Our Bones proved that they have the anthemic pop rock vibe nailed (read our review of it here). The intro starts dramatically before Chrissy Costanza's vocals kick in in time with the bass synth. The choruses are just as anthemic as the original's, big drums and sweet guitars not powering the song but acting as support for Costanza's warm vocals. The guitar solo is nailed, leading into a powerful final chorus complete with big gang vocals to emulate the rebellious composure of the song and a bright guitar lead. No one could've fit better into this song than her. (94 / 100)
12) Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! - Sleep: This cover of 'Sleep' just sounds like an overproduced version of the original. There's really nothing special about it that MCR's version doesn't do better. Just a standard cover. It's good, but doesn't provide anything new. (74 / 100)
13) Asking Alexandria - Famous Last Words: It would just so happen that my two favorite songs on the original album happen to be the worst on this cover album. Perhaps it just goes to show how My Chemical Romance absolutely nailed what they were working to accomplish. If you read our review of Asking Alexandria's album The Black, you'd know that I was already unimpressed in them. If you haven't read it yet - click here to check it out. They completely tossed out the energy of the original song, making it feel like you're listening to a weak rendition by a cover band. Where's the punch of the final chorus? Why is it shortened? Why is the instrumental so undynamic? It's overproduced, uninspired, and just plain weak as a cover to end the album. It's a sad listen. (38 / 100)
Rock Sound's compilation is hit or miss, really, though the sentiment is sweet. My Chemical Romance truly created something amazing, and to see all these different bands come together to say thank you to the music and bring this dedication to them. It's humbling, even as a fan, to see these artists perform these songs that are close to so many people's hearts. You can't recreate what The Black Parade made, but you can always pay respect to it.
Favorite Tracks: Cancer, Sleep, Teenagers, House Of Wolves
Least Favorite Tracks: Welcome To The Black Parade, Famous Last Words
Rating: 73 / 100