My Chemical Romance: The songs we listen to in a completely different way since their comeback. An ode to our emo days.
By : Chloe Bunel
Friday March 13th 2020
“My Chemical Romance is done. But it can never die. It is alive in me, in the guys, and it is alive inside all of you. I always knew that, and I think you did too. Because it is not a band — it is an idea.”
The year is 2013, and My Chemical Romance just announced the end of their incredible journey but still refuse to permanently say goodbye. Even if the hearts of fans were bleeding, there was always hope. Singer Gerard Way was pretty clear in his final statement quoted above: they will never die. The idea of carrying on after the end of everything…. isn’t that the main message behind The Black Parade anyway?
Did the same Way brothers who decided after attending a Smashing Pumpkins show to follow their musical path really also end up planning the six year break? It’s hard to say, but definitely not impossible to be seduced by this idea. We may be the kids of yesterday, but did we only truly hear the music when our heart began to break? I don’t think so. Now that they came back from the dead this past Halloween, the cult is ironically even more alive. MCR fans have a lot of imagination, and real art always makes room for interpretations. That’s exactly why the idea of past hidden messages to fans in previous albums is even more beautiful.
The Black Parade, the album that was supposed to be “The 5 of us are dying”
It’s not a secret that The Black Parade was supposed to be MCR’s last masterpiece. Gerard Way always loved to plan things out, and saying goodbye with this magnificent dark parade sounded like a beautiful and tragic soundtrack to their funeral. The first track is called “The End,” and another song called “Famous Last Words” concludes the album — everything was pretty clear. But, hearing lead guitarist Ray Toro play some amazing metal riffs backstage during “The Black Parade Is Dead” only reverses their last days. If the message of a return is proving more explicit in this next era, in terms of The Black Parade, death was waiting around the corner.
“Welcome to the Black Parade”
“And when you’re gone, we want you all to know/We’ll carry on we’ll carry on/And though you’re dead and gone, believe me/Your memory will carry on”
At the beginning of the song, Gerard Way speaks about a marching band played by My Chemical Romance themselves. A patient going through hard times will never be alone and he finally meets My Chemical Romance when it seems there is no more hope. The MCR guys are here for him, all the while screaming some significant lyrics.
“Famous Last Words”
“I am not afraid to keep on living/I am not afraid to walk this world alone/Honey, if you stay
I’ll be forgiven/Nothing you can say can stop me going home”
The album speaks about death and resurrection but the real question is: “Who’s home?” Was it only family and friends? Was it only this break that they really needed? Or was it also us fans? Throughout their whole career the guys will use this idea of “home” a lot, and every time — the confusion is real.
Danger Days: The end is near, but Killjoys never die!
“Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)”
The music video for this song introduced us to Battery City — a post-apocalyptic California in 2019, to Party Poison, Fun Ghoul, Cobra Kid and Jet Star. With Danger Days and its really colorful comic book aesthetic, everything seems more fun, unreal and possible. Have you paid attention to the year and location of their reunion show? It was in California, in 2019. They are ready to save Rock’n’roll and our ears from some terrible new mainstream music. Na na na, they refuse to give up.
“The Only Hope For Me Is You”
“If that’s the best that I could be? Then I’d be another memory/Can I be the only hope for you?/Because you’re the only hope for me and if we can’t find where we belong, we’ll have to make it on our own” Before concluding with “Remember me”
Just in case we didn’t get it: one day they will be back so we don’t have to forget them, but wait while they have other things to accomplish.
“Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back”
“I’ll tell you all how the story ends/Where the good guys die and the bad guys win […] We could live forever if you’ve got the time, oh I’m the only friend that makes you cry/You’re a heart attack in black hair dye so just save yourself and I’ll hold them back tonight”
The good guys died — but it feels like we have time, and MCR definitely told us how the story ends right here.
“When the lights go out/Will you take me with you and carry all this broken bone/Through six years down in crowded rooms and highways I call home?”
Their break lasted six years. With The Black Parade we were only optimistic dreamers, but right now — try to convince us these were only lyrical coincidences. One more time, we love to think that we fans are the ones they call home. That would be really poetic, and we really need it in the ugly world we live in.
“The Kids from Yesterday”
“Now this could be the last of all the rides we take so hold on tight and don’t look back/We’ll find you when the sun goes black and you want to 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”
MCR were those kids from yesterday singing their sorrow, grief and desire of sweet revenge. They were the soundtrack of our darkest days. In Danger Days, MCR are spreading a really different kind of energy. They grew up — and so did we. If “Summertime” shone its light on us like the warm sun on our shoulders and “Planetary (GO!)” turned us into unexpected dancers, “The Kids from Yesterday” fills our heart with sweet nostalgia. Now, we’re listening to these kids and we can’t help thinking of our youngest years. This song is definitely the one to hear living in 2020, right? Imagine the power of this song today.
Conventional Weapons and Unconventional Goodbye
After announcing their death and hinting at resurrection, here comes the moment to spread love and hope because My Chemical Romance couldn’t really leave us like this, and two songs mainly did the job. Both released to show the light in the darkness, the beauty in the ugliness, and to provide love in loneliness with poetry and tenderness.
“The Light Behind Your Eyes”
“Be strong and hold my hand/Time becomes for us, you’ll understand/We’ll say goodbye today and I’m sorry how it ends this way/If you promise not to cry, then I’ll tell you just what I would say/If I could be with you tonight/I would sing you to sleep/Never let them take the light behind your eyes”
“The World Is Ugly”
“You’ll never fight alone ’cause I wanted you to know that the world is ugly but you’re beautiful to me/Well are you thinking of me now?” Before concluding with: “Stop your crying, helpless feeling. Dry your eyes and start believing”
In 2014, My Chemical Romance released a greatest hits compilation album from the grave with the new opening song “Fake Your Own Death.” How confusing!
Bonus: In 2019, a few months before the MCR reunion, guitarist Frank Iero and his new band Frank Iero and The Future Violents released the album Barriers. If you listen carefully to the lyrics of “Young & Doomed,” you’ll heard a hidden reference to “I’m Not Okay” and even if it doesn’t mean anything, it still melts our emo hearts, trust me:
“I promise that I’m not okay (Oh, wait, that’s the other guy) […] Don’t leave me here, where my fears consume my thoughts of what was and what could have been.”
Well, we don’t leave you here, fellow MCR fans. My Chemical Romance are gonna be on the road again this summer in Europe and then in the US for an already sold out tour. Temporarily gone, yes — but definitely not forgotten.
Sept. 9: Detroit, Mich. – Little Caesars Arena
Sept. 11: St. Paul, Minn. – Xcel Energy Center
Sept. 12: Chicago, Ill. – Riot Fest
Sept. 14: Toronto, Ontario – Scotiabank Arena
Sept. 15: Boston, Mass. – TD Garden
Sept. 17: Brooklyn, N.Y. – Barclays Center
Sept. 18: Philadelphia, Penn. – Wells Fargo Center
Sept. 20: Atlanta, Ga. – Music Midtown
Sept. 22: Newark, N.J. – Prudential Center
Sept. 26: Sunrise, Fla. – BB&T Center
Sept. 29: Houston, Tex. – Toyota Center
Sept. 30: Dallas, Tex. – American Airlines Center
Oct. 2: Denver, Col. – Pepsi Center
Oct. 4: Tacoma, Wash. – Tacoma Dome
Oct. 6: Oakland, Cali. – Oakland Arena
Oct. 8: Los Angeles, Cali. – The Forum
Oct. 10: Sacramento, Cali. – Aftershock Festival
Oct. 11: Las Vegas, Nev. – T-Mobile Arena