Monday, January 22

Chemically Imbalanced

Artist: My Chemical Romance
Album: The Black Parade

Comments: My father, a man whose musical tastes are rarely called into question, is the man to blame for me listening to My Chemical Romance. At the suggestion of Rolling Stone magazine, my father bought MCR’s breakout record “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” to see what all the fuss was about. After listening to the record once he passed it on to me, with a preamble of “This record stinks”. I listened to it anyway, and I came to the same conclusion. But still, I hold that if he had never bought the stupid thing in the first place, I never would have listened to it.

I was ready to give this record a good review, and despite my sordid history with MCR, I was prepared to give “Welcome to the Black Parade” high marks. However, as I listened to the album over and over again, I find that while some songs truly do stand out, much of the record is lifeless. I think the reason that I wanted to give this album such praise is because of the big difference in My Chemical Romance’s sound on this record. They tossed aside the screamo style that made them hot topic hits for a more classic rock influenced sound. The reason they can do this and not completely fail, I think, is that modern emo and mid eighties stadium rock share a lot of the same principals, in theory and theatrics if not in sound. Both landscapes are full of over the top, unnecessary dramatics, and the “bigger is better” mentality. And a lot of the artists dress like women.

The songs that I like best on this album are the ones that sound the most like other people’s songs. For example, “Dead” features the big guitar riffing and choral vocal arrangement of Thin Lizzy. In fact, MCR is practically committing plagiarism, and I couldn’t care less. That’s how I know the song works; it’s able to show me exactly who they are stealing from, and the song still holds up as an independent wrong. The other place this works is on the title track “Welcome to the Black Parade”. I swear to God that this is, note for note, a Queen song. It’s got everything from the “emerging from the background” guitar solo, to the over the top womanly screams. And yet, it’s the large, grandness of the song that makes it good. It is, for lack of a better word, rocking. These two are better songs than anything I would have thought MCR capable of.

Ah, if only MCR could have kept this up for an entire album, it would be in contention with The Hold Steady for the title of “Last Great Rock Band”. Saldy, the rest of the album is mostly blandness. The classic rock ripping is still there, but it sounds forced. It’s very odd to me how a band can sound so natural and effortless on one song, and then sound so flat and uninspired the next; this is sadly the case on this record. It’s a shame, really. I was ready to throw all of my indie cred (whatever that’s worth) out the window and love up a record by a band that most people over the age of 13 find deplorable. A handful of (really) good songs cannot save an album that I was really prepared to like. At the end of the day, this album is a reminder that without real emotion in music, it’s as hollow as a stadium.

Rating: 4 out of 10

Key Tracks: “Dead” “The Sharpest Life” “Welcome to the Black Parade”

Worth The Money: :(

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