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Black Parade

The Black Parade

4.8 24
by My Chemical Romance

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At the heart of My Chemical Romance lore is the story of lead singer/songwriter/mouthpiece Gerard Way, an animator who decided to abandon illustrations and do "something with his life" in the wake of 9/11. Needless to say, that "important" thing was My Chemical Romance, which quickly rose to prominence among the emo and neo-punk bands that cluttered the rock landscape


At the heart of My Chemical Romance lore is the story of lead singer/songwriter/mouthpiece Gerard Way, an animator who decided to abandon illustrations and do "something with his life" in the wake of 9/11. Needless to say, that "important" thing was My Chemical Romance, which quickly rose to prominence among the emo and neo-punk bands that cluttered the rock landscape of the 2000s thanks in large part to "I'm Not OK (I Promise)," a surging piece of emo pop with a hook as ridiculously catchy as its title was ridiculous. It deservedly became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 2005, dragging its accompanying album -- 2004's Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, the group's second -- along for the ride, turning MCR into stars, at least in modern rock circles. But, anybody who didn't follow the fashions of emo and punk closely might have ignored the group's tragic, romantic neo-goth image and merely assumed that MCR was another good poppy punk one-hit wonder, not far removed from, say, Fall Out Boy. My Chemical Romance intended to dispel all such misconceptions with their third album, The Black Parade, an unabashed, old-fashioned concept album, complete with characters wandering through a vague narrative that concerns very big themes like death. Actually, death is the only big theme on The Black Parade, which shouldn't come as a big surprise for a band that named their stopgap live album Life on the Murder Scene, nor should the record's theatricality come as much as a shock, either -- tragedy and melodrama are hardwired in the group's DNA, as illustrated by the often-told tale of Way's inspiration to form the band. Also, it's not as if The Black Parade is MCR's first concept album, either. Their 2002 debut, I Brought You My Bullets, and its follow-up, Three Cheers, told the interlocking story of doomed lovers on the run from vengeful vampires or some such nonsense, but only the hardcore who were willing to analyze endlessly on the Internet were aware of this; based on pure sound, MCR was an emo-punk band through and through, screaming out their feelings as if they were revelations, so it was easy to assume that their music was merely autobiographical. My Chemical Romance took great pains to have The Black Parade seem like its own theatrical work, launching a whole Web-based campaign, filled with videos and interviews explaining how the album tells the tale of "the Patient", a young man dying of cancer in a hospital bed who flashes back on his undistinguished life upon the moment of his death, and how the band got so into this project they considered themselves not My Chemical Romance, but a band called the Black Parade -- shades of the Beatles and Sgt. Pepper! Naturally, those allusions are quite deliberate, and one that MCR played up in that pre-release campaign, dropping liberal reference to Queen (particularly A Night at the Opera) and Pink Floyd's The Wall as well. It was all quite reminiscent of how the Killers set up Sam's Town with endless name-dropping of Bruce Springsteen and U2, but where the Las Vegas quartet wound up with an unholy fusion of these two extremes, MCR never synthesizes; they openly steal from their holy trinity, then graft it upon the sound they've patented. Often, it seems as if they copied The Wall onto tracing paper and placed it upon Three Cheers. The story of The Black Parade is nearly identical to The Wall -- Pink and the Patient run through a litany of childhood and adulthood traumas; absent fathers loom large; many of the main character's flaws are cruelly deemed the fault of the mother -- and there are plenty of flourishes lifted from Roger Waters' magnum opus: the opening fanfare "The End" is a re-creation of "In the Flesh," right down to the churning heavy guitars that come crashing in halfway through, while "Mama" -- shades of "Mother"! -- sounds like Green Day performing "The Trial," as Way affects Billie Joe's affected mock-English accent as he comes tantalizingly close to following "You should have raised a baby girl/I should have been a better son" with "The way you made them suffer/Your exquisite wife and mother/Fills me with the urge to defecate." These are not the only allusions to classic concept albums, either -- as promised, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero conjure Brian May's spirit, "Cancer" recalls Sgt. Pepper as filtered through Oasis -- but The Black Parade doesn't feel like a revival of '70s prog as much as it hearkens back to the twin towers of mid-'90s concept alt-rock: the Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar. Manson's enduring fascination with the grotesque echoes throughout the album, from the artwork through Way's overcooked, bluntly ugly lyrics (highlighted by "soggy from the chemo"), but its heart lies with the Pumpkins, and not just because after his Parade makeover Way strongly resembles Billy Corgan. Like the Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance shares a love of classic metal that manifests itself in both pummeling riffs and soaring guitar solos, plus they also have a flair for melody, two things that give their solipsistic rock muscle and grandeur. If MCR didn't have these gifts, The Black Parade would collapse in a pile of drama club clichés, sophomoric self-pity, and an adolescent obsession with death, yet they manage to skirt such a disaster even if they flirt with it shamelessly. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the album is a triumph. For one, The Black Parade plays a lot straighter than it reads. Sure, it has the marching bands, overdubbed choirs, radio-play theatrics, and Liza Minnelli cameos, a list that makes the album sound like a wild Grand Guignol rock opera but all of that winds up being window dressing to music that often isn't far removed from what My Chemical Romance has done before. Despite all these seemingly fancy accouterments, they're still a modern emo-punk band, which means for all the emotion poured out by their ever-earnest lead singer, there's little grit in their sound and Rob Cavallo's brittle production doesn't help, as its wall of digital sound emphasizes the sonic similarities between the songs instead of their differences. And there are a lot of similarities here: the bulk of the record is firmly within MCR's comfort zone, which helps make the extra flair -- which doesn't arrive as often as it should -- stand out all the more. But even if this isn't quite the radical break that it was intended to be, MCR does their signature blend of Sturm und Drang better than ever -- "Dead!" rushes along on a series of escalating hooks, "This Is How I Disappear" surges with purpose -- and when they're paired with tunes that do break the mold, like the wonderfully pompous title track "Welcome to the Black Parade" or "Teenagers," a tremendous reworking of the "Bang a Gong"/"Cactus" riff that is the simplest and best song they've ever written, it makes for a record that's their strongest, most cohesive yet, even if it isn't quite as weird or compelling as it should be given the group's lofty ambitions.

Product Details

Release Date:
Reprise / Wea


Album Credits

Performance Credits

My Chemical Romance   Primary Artist
Liza Minnelli   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Rob Cavallo   Piano
Michael Waye   Group Member
Gerard Way   Vocals,Group Member
Frank Iero   Guitar,Group Member
Mikey Way   Bass Guitar
Ray Toro   Guitar,Group Member
Bob Bryar   Drums,Group Member

Technical Credits

Doug McKean   Engineer
Rob Cavallo   Producer,Audio Production
My Chemical Romance   Composer,Audio Production
Gerard Way   Art Direction
Ellen Wakayama   Art Direction
Tyler Dragness   Guitar Techician

Customer Reviews

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The Black Parade 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In all honestly i love it. it was incredable in every way possible. the lyrics were great, the sound is exquised and the passion put into it was some of the best work i have ever seen.
soljerinblkprd More than 1 year ago
this album is tottally amazing. you will not regret listening to My Chemical Romance.Its worth every cent.Be a part of the MCRmy!! signup now at thestreetnetwork.com and become a soldier in THE BLACK PARADE
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is the best for the latest CDs by My Chemical romance. If you listen long enough to track number 14 you will hear a song that is not listed. The name is blood. It is one of the funniest I have heard that isn't by Weird Al. ^^"
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Upon removing the wrapping of this cd,I knew right away quality material faced me, from the Velvet on the case, to the opening of the case to reveal the amazing artwork and booklet telling the band's inspiration of the songs. The real treat was what was stored on the CD. The music flowed excellent, not a single song I did not like, it is that good, go out and get it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an extremly good cd, it's very theatrical and powerful. It has a lot of energy, it's a must have for every mcr fan.
DEMONTHE7TH More than 1 year ago
The reviewer sure did right a long review for this one, considering he didn't really side with the band necessarily. He also referred to a song by MCR as their best, which is kind of an opinion I'd say. This whole cd is amazing. The cancer theme really makes you think about how you'd look at your life if you were diagnosed with cancer. I heard that a lot of the proceeds from paying for this cd went to cancer studies. Overally, the whole cd has a lot of songs that are fairly uplifting, but still have a dreary backround. It definitely paints a picture for it's listeners.
phantomsforever More than 1 year ago
amazing in all the ways that count and all the ways that don't.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Jersey Boys are back with their fourth album! THe Black Parade special edition is definatly a must-have for all MCR fans.Like a love letter to death, this rock opera starts with a man lying in a hospital bed, remembering his past. The most significant memory is of his father taking him to veiw a parade ""Welcome to the Black Parade"". This cd includes several heart pumping songs like, "House of Wolves" and "Teenagers, and a couple of love letters like "Disenchanted" and "I Don't Love You". You have to admit, it doesn't have that vengeful My Chemcial Romance vibe like the last three albums, but it proves that they are ready to be taken seriously be the media.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Chemical Romance has done it again! If your not a fan of them this album will definatley make you one! I wasn't one untill recently when Life on the Murder Scene was released! They have held me every scince.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not been too familiar with MCR,but after hearing "Black Parade" I decided to buy the CD,All I can say is that it blew me away these guys really know how to rock and they bring something fresh and unique to music..a pleasure to listen to. I would recomend this CD my review A.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Follow up to Three Cheers, The Black Parade is a thought provoking record based on the simple theory that when you die, death comes for you however you would want subcontientsly. My Chemical Romance are modern Rock Heroes 2006. Buy This Record Now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love all of My Chemical Romance's CDs, and this one is NO exception! I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a lot of screaming like on their past albums, and some of the songs had more of a mainstream rock sound, but it didn't matter, because it was still incredible. Some of the songs have really uplifting lyrics in them, and other songs are just really awesome and fun! In the limited edition of this cd there's this really awesome book full of pictures and band notes, and it's interesting to hear about personal problems they had while recording this cd, and it's easy to relate with some stuff they talk about. Buy this if you liked any of their previous music!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Chem. has done it again! every single song is a hit to me. and gerard is such a good artist! i recommend this for all rock music fans to buy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is the best CD ever! All their songs are awesome!Even the ones from "I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love!" MCR ROCKS!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is My Chemical Romance's Best albmum yet! I feel that this album lets everyone feel there pain, also others can relate to some of it. I personaly Love this! All there albums rock.. but I would DEFINTILY recomend this album out of all of them! Listen to #13. Great song.
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