Saying goodbye is never fun.
Saying goodbye to a band is definitely not fun.
My Chemical Romance have been gracing our ears since 2001, with music that, if you bothered to argue, could define a generation (if not just for a period of time). However, in true My Chem fashion, they aren’t leaving without a theatrical, extraordinary exit. This flourishing goodbye comes in the form of May Death Never Stop You, their final album, and a nod to the fans. Consider this their collection of greatest hits, which you can order with a DVD full of never before seen footage.
“Fake Your Death” is a perfect underdog anthem that really illustrates the concept of choosing your own fate, as well as the idea that life isn’t always fair. Lyrically, the previously unreleased track is wonderfully pieced together, witty, and poetic. This will easily find its way into listeners’ top ten My Chemical Romance favorites, if not just for the pure rock and roll soul that embeds itself into each line.
This video is the perfect summary of their career, and a great goodbye.
One thing I used to love about “emo” (excuse the label) music was the obscure titles that were long, strange, and cheeky; Fall Out Boy set the standard high with titles that weren’t pulled from the lyrics. “Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us,” is the perfect flashback to that time, as well as My Chemical Romance’s early sound. It’s noisy, youthful, and full of angst, letting us all revel in the sound of our own garage-band infused adolescence. Stripped from the same album, “Vampires Will Never Hurt You” provides the same effect. One of My Chemical Romance’s better known earlier tracks, to hear it now reminds listeners of the promise the band showed even in their early days, even going as far as predicting the new wave of pop-culture obsession: vampires.
I can distinctly remember hearing My Chemical Romance or the very first time. In all truth, my cousin was obsessed with Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. She showed me the videos for “Helena” and “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and I pretended to be uninterested, but as soon as she walked out of the room, I was humming the melodies under my breath. Needless to say, I’ve been an MCR fan ever since. Whenever I hear those tracks, I am immediately taken back to that day, still fascinated by the boys wearing eye makeup and all black. The beauty in “Helena” is the melancholy tone of the lyrics, the resignation to loss, contrasting with the fast-paced instrumentals that bring the sound full-circle. “I’m Not Okay (I Promise” has remained my ultimate favorite song from the band, and the video may have a lot to do with that. As a kid, that video was gold to me, and it’s still probably my favorite music video I’ve ever watched. The track is clever, blunt, honest, and it’s got solid instrumentals to boot. The guitar solo is enough to make you stop dead in your tracks. Just hearing a few songs from Three Cheers… makes me want to play it on a loop, just for the nostalgia it provides.
Of course, every person in the world remembers The Black Parade, adoring it from the opening notes of “Welcome To The Black Parade.” To see it alongside My Chem’s other hits is almost enough to make listeners grin in pride, especially those of us that recall the debut of these songs, and the attention they received on TRL (Tweens who read this blog: yes, MTV used to occasionally talk about music and play good music videos that didn’t involve teen pregnancy or Snooki). From “Welcome […]” to “Famous Last Words,” the few tracks from The Black Parade still have the same effect of making you want to sing and jump and slide across the kitchen floor on your knees like you’re Freddie Mercury at Wimberly Stadium (oh, is that just me?).
Not to be excluded are the hit singles from the band’s Danger Days […] album, which, when placed alongside their older music, places a spotlight on the growth of each member, and of the group as a whole. Finishing off with tracks from Dreams of Stabbing and/or Being Stabbed, My Chemical Romance bring their final album full-circle with demos that sound like being back at the beginning once again. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say these demos, along with the ironically titled, “Fake Your Death,” were signs that My Chemical Romance were about to pull off the greatest April Fool’s Day prank in history. However, let’s call a spade a spade and just admit that it’s time to say goodbye.
Unlike many “Greatest Hits” compilations, My Chemical Romance strayed from the mash-up of their musical eras, placing them in perfectly timed chronological order. Like an audible diagram of their evolution, listeners new and old will get to experience moments from the band’s beginning to their last hurrah.
Thanks to the Fabulous Killjoys (I had to do it), My Chemical Romance, for making great music and for reminding us all, with this album, what it felt like to be an angst-ridden teenager; even just for a minute. “So long, and goodnight.”