The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance is one of the most influential and famous rock operas of the 21st century. The album tells the story of a cancer patient, their experiences with life and death, and dealing with the afterlife. The record makes use of strange song order, alternating from before the patient's death, during, and after at seemingly random intervals. The explosive and bombastic sound of the album allows for an extremely emotional and moving listen, and although I'm not the biggest fan of Gerard's vocals they fit quite well sonically. The instrumentation and production for this record are practically unmatched and unseen in the main genres surrounding the sound- truly, these are some of the best guitar tones I've heard.
This was one of the first rock albums I ever heard (in fact it may have been the very first), and it practically introduced me to a whole new side of music. I have to thank Bradley for that, as it was his reaction video which originally introduced me to this record. Of course, I had heard most of the singles beforehand, but I was quite surprised to learn that they are not necessarily the best songs on the record. Although still very mainstream, this record is able to bring a very massive wall of sound and noise during most tracks, and tracks that don't provide this feeling often have a very specific reason for not doing so. This record is probably the perfect middle ground for extremely noisy and abrasive music and radio-friendly rock.
Although some would see this record as a simple emo punk record (and it surely has some qualities similar to those) for the most part it transcends that categorization mainly due to the sheer instrumentation- not to mention the actual lyrical content and production itself. If you are holding off listening to this record due to this aesthetic, don't worry- there are very few moments where it hurts the music itself. In songs like "Mama" & "This Is How I Disappear" the riffs and instrumentation are so perfect and mind-melting that nothing else really stands out (everything else sounds out of focus). This isn't a bad thing though, as it adds to the noisy and distorted sound that many of the songs are going for.
I will not be doing a track by track review for this record (and I probably won't be doing many in the future, only for very specific albums) because I'm not sure if there is much interest in it- they often take very long to do and I'm not sure if there is an audience for such a lengthy explanation (such as in my Amnesiac review). I will talk about a few individual tracks which I enjoy greatly though:
-The End. & Dead!
These two tracks are transitioned together as though they are one. They introduce the listener to the main theme of this record, which is, of course, death. They work as a great opener both sonically and lyrically. If these two tracks don't throw you right into the album then the record probably won't be for you.
-This Is How I Disappear
One of my favorite songs from the album. The explosive and fast-paced sound is perfect for the aggressive singing, discussing being forgotten after death. If you are forgotten about after death, did your existence really mean anything? The instrumentation on this track is easily some of the best on the record, and the switch up during the bridge is probably my favorite moment of the entire record. Plus, who can ignore the extremely memorable and impactful line, "I'm really not so with you anymore. I'm just a ghost, so I can't hurt you anymore." This leading into one of the best sounding riffs on the record makes for this song to be one of My Chemical Romance's best tracks.
-Welcome To The Black Parade
Although this track is not one of my favorites on the record, I figured I would still have to talk about it a little. It's a perfect title track as the discussion of death is quite apparent, and the sound of the song is a good middle ground/average of the entire album. Probably the most famous and iconic MCR song, and for a good reason.
With this incredibly saddening and heartbreaking track, we are finally given the reason for the main character's death: cancer. Easily the most emotional and heart-wrenching song on the album, with some of the most memorable performances. I appreciate this song for its realism.
A track written in the perspective of a soldier in war, which although out of the main story of the album, still follows the main theme of death. A very cartoony sound slowly morphs into a massive wall of noise and emotion, eventually leading into the massive and abrasive breakdown in the second half. This section is what brings this song above so many others, highlighting the magnificent playing of the band.
The Black Parade is an amazing rock album full of beautifully written and constructed lyrics, which follow the story of a cancer patient. Although some may consider this record "emo," it is so much more than that. The amazing instrumentals combined with Gerard's great vocals create a dark and atmospheric experience.
---------Cover Art: (90/100)---------
This cover art has actually kind of grown off of me since I first saw it. Although I think it's really good, I feel like they could have made something that better represented the immense emotions of the record. I do like the cartoony style though, as that is displayed in a few songs such as "Mama." The aesthetic of the album cover itself matches nicely with the record, and let's not forget about how iconic it is.
It just looks pleasing to the eyes as well.