“How I Discovered My Chemical Romance 15 Years After the Rest of the World”

My Chemical Romance The Black Parade

To obsess or not to obsess.  That is the question.  My apologies to Shakespeare. I tend to lack focus in many aspects of my life.  Bouncing back and forth between learning a foreign language, playing guitar, photography, and many other endeavors. However, when it comes to music I can become obsessed and fixated on a single artist, song, or album.  I mostly ignore radio and have a habit of listening to a single artist for months or sometimes years while ignoring others.  I have gone from the Beatles to Olivia Newton-John to Duran Duran to Green Day to Amy Grant to Sum 41 to the Sick Puppies back to Green Day.  The result is that I miss out on a lot of great music unless I manage to catch something on TV, due to not paying attention.

Sometimes it can take me years to discover a band.  This happened recently.  Around six months ago I started seeing all this chatter on Facebook about this band called My Chemical Romance.  My Chemical Who? The name triggered some deep memories making me think that maybe I had heard the name before. A quick search of Apple Music displayed a long list of songs by the band. The first song on the list was “Welcome to The Black Parade”. I clicked on the song title and began listening to see why people were so excited about this band.  It started off with a slow piano intro, followed by some mellow vocals by Gerard Way, which gradually increased in intensity.  I was rapidly losing interest and the finger was just getting ready to swipe the app closed when at 1:48 into the song, Ray Toro and Frank Iero’s guitars kicked in. My finger instantly pulled away from my phone.  I started listening intently and by the time Way got to “And through it all, the rise and fall, The Bodies in the streets” I was hooked.

Moving down the list brought songs like “Teenagers”, “Helena”, and “I’m Not OK”.  Even though I am long past my teenage years and missed the Emo movement by a couple of decades, these are all songs that I can still relate to and which take me back to life as a depressed, harassed, bullied, suicidal tempted teenager.  Some of us never truly become OK. When I got to “Famous Last Words”, I was totally blown away and my obsession began.

One of the things I find interesting about the great bands is how they transform and evolve. I saw this in both of my favorite bands, the Beatles and Green Day.  The Beatles first US album Meet The Beatles was raw and packed full of energy, but with musicianship which was somewhat lackluster. As they progressed from album to album, you could hear the music getting more and more polished; the lyrics getting more complex; culminating in their concept album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Green Day displayed a similar evolution going from Kerplunk to Dookie to their rock opera American Idiot, with Billie Joe Armstrong transforming his guitar abilities all along the way.

I feel My Chemical Romance’s evolution was more dramatic than either The Beatles or Green Day.  It’s relatively easy to classify both the latter band’s music without much debate.  However, there is no consensus on My Chemical Romance.  Each of their four studio albums, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, The Black Parade, and Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys are each unique and show Way and the band transitioning from punk to emo/post-hardcore to pop-punk with a half-dozen other genres thrown in the mix.  It was as if the band purposely hit the reset button attempting to reinvent themselves with each album.

Not only did the band reinvent themselves with their music, but also with their look.  Way changed his appearance throughout the band’s dash through the first decade of the new millennium.   Going from a dark emo goth in Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, to a Sgt Pepperish platinum blonde look for The Black Parade, to pop punkish red hair for Danger Days.  This change symbolizes what I admire most about the band; a constant changing flux of identity. It is hard to get bored with a band that is always striving to do something different. A band not content with where they are now but being in constant pursuit of what they can become.

It’s been seven years since we last saw the band.  I can’t wait to see want the next evolution will bring.  This is no longer a band of restless youths.  It is a band now composed of husbands and fathers, hitting middle age in a new decade.  How will this influence the direction of the music?  We will have to wait and see.  All I know is that of my litany of musical obsessions, this one may be the hardest one to overcome. Ten years from now I may still be listening to the band, looking back, and wondering what happened in the rest of the music world.

Post by Scott Raymer (Website | Instagram | Facebook)

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The post “How I Discovered My Chemical Romance 15 Years After the Rest of the World” appeared first on Concert Crap.

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