Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Chemical Romance Breaks Up

Earlier this week My Chemical Romance announced their break up on their web site. The break up appears to have been amiable and the reasons for it are unclear. If there is any specific reason, from a long post Gerard Way made to Twitlonger, it appears that it is just that it is time for My Chemical Romance to come to an end. Regardless, the fact that My Chemical Romance are breaking up does make me sad. Quite simply, they were my favourite band from the Naughts.

Over the years various labels would be applied to My Chemical Romance. In their early years they were often labelled "emo," a label I never really thought fit them. They were often called "pop punk," "post punk," or even simply "punk," although many of their songs could be considered "power pop." Given power pop is my all time favourite genre of music and pop punk is also one of my favourites, it should come as no surprise that I would love My Chemical Romance. Their music was laden with hooks, catchy melodies, and tended to be guitar heavy. From listening to their songs I'd say that their influences ranged from The Beatles to The Ramones to Green Day, with even a bit of heavy metal thrown in for good measure in the form of Iron Maiden. Regardless, it is clear that My Chemical sprang from the same well as most of my favourite bands.

While My Chemical Romance's musical styles have always appealed to me, I must say that their lyrics always appealed to me as well. Indeed, when My Chemical Romance first entered my life, I was in a very dark place in some ways. My mother had just died of a heart attack and I had gone through a particularly tumultuous relationship. My Chemical Romance's first two albums, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love and Three Cheers for Revenge contained some fairly bleak material. Indeed, "Helena," from Three Cheers for Revenge, dealt with Gerard Way's feelings in the wake of the death of his grandmother Elena Lee Rush (my own mother had only died a few years before). "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" summed up the angst I felt in the wake of a break up.

By the time The Black Parade came out my life was considerably happier, but it would become my favourite My Chemical Romance album and one of my favourite albums of all time. Stylistically the album owes a great deal to The Beatles (indeed, for the album My Chemical Romance wore a black variation of The Beatle's "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" uniforms), as well as Queen and David Bowie. The Black Parade was also a rock opera, centring on a man dying of cancer (known only as "The Patient") and his thoughts on his life, dying, and the afterlife. Both with regards to its various musical styles and its subject matter, I still think The Black Parade is one of the most inventive albums of the past twenty years.

In my life there have only been a few bands that have ever spoken to me in a very personal way. As anyone who knows me will know, The Beatles were the first of those bands (indeed, I know of no time in my life without The Beatles). Along the way there would be Cheap Trick, The Knack, and The Posies. My Chemical Romance is one of those few bands that really spoke to me. It is for that reason their break up does make me very sad.

1 comment:

Raquel Stecher said...

Terry - I was in a dark place too when I first discovered MCR and their lyrics spoke to me too. I loved their music. I traveled to see them at the Warped Tour and to one of their single concerts. I didn't end up seeing them at Warped but did eventually see them perform live and it was amazing. I don't like very many bands but MCR was definitely one that I loved. I find their songs very empowering even with their very dark themes. I often work out to them because they push to me to work out harder and longer. I thank MCR for a lot of inspiration, healing and motivation. I'm sad to hear they broke up!