By Michael Hollander
With the release of The Black Parade, it has become clear that Chemical Romance fully intends on continuing their domination in the emo-rock genre. What's different this time is that there's a tinge of hope echoing through the album.
Many zealous fans were anxious that it would be difficult for the band to top their sophomore effort, the platinum Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. They will be glad to know that My Chemical Romance has once again surpassed expectations, with many excellent and painfully depressing songs to cry about. The album is full of the loud, melodic, and bleak music that the band is famous for. Despite this, they are only supplemental to the lyrics, which are gripping and truly contain one of the best tales ever to come out of rock.
The first track on the album, "The End", is an energetic introduction to the album. The lyrics clue the listeners in to the story, letting them know that they are listening to the Black Parade, not My Chemical Romance. "Now come one, come all/ To this tragic affair./ Wipe off that makeup - what's in is despair." The message is clear. The band's make-up is gone; they're different now, and you'd better listen.
"The End" begins the tale of the "Patient", a man who has been given only a few weeks to live. The rest of the album continues his story, detailing a life full of loss, drugs, and unhappiness. As the track goes on, the Patient loses hope in himself and those he once loved. The songs are more powerful than anything on the previous two albums.
One of the best songs in the release is the single, "Welcome to the Black Parade". It starts off extremely slow, which is uncharacteristic for My Chemical Romance. It gives a glimpse into one of the Patient's earliest memories, viewing a marching band with his deceased father. The tempo matches the lyrics perfectly.
While they watch, his dad gives him some advice that may just be his salvation. "Would you be/ the savior of the broken/ The beaten and the damned?/ He said will you/ Defeat them/ your demons/ And all the non-believers/ The plans that they have made?/ Because one day/ I'll leave you...A phantom/ To lead you in the summer/ To join the Black Parade."
In the beginning, the lyrics are full of optimism. Once repeated, however, they become distorted and hateful, with the Patient bitter towards his own failure in fulfilling what his father asked him to do. He became what he was supposed to save, and now only the Black Parade, enigmatic figures that bridge life and death, can save him. The song is a masterpiece.
The greatest song in the album is "Famous Last Words". The instrumentals and rhythm sync up in a way that leaves the listener breathless. It's the conclusion to the album, finishing the story of the Patient. It's surprisingly upbeat (for My Chemical Romance), and is perhaps a sign of things to come from the band.
The rest of the songs on The Black Parade are also great, each unique in their own way. The tracks complement each other well. My Chemical Romance is evolving violent rock, and its fans will be glad to be along for the ride.