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Album Reviews: The Black Parade by My Chemical RomanceThe thing to do this year in music is to change it up. Why stay with what’s worked for you when you can go back in time and borrow something that worked for someone else? Call it the American Idiot syndrome, in honor of Green Day’s multi-platinum rock-opera 2004 release. They reinvented themselves by taking bits and pieces of older band’s sounds and updating them as their own. Then the Killers did it, and so did Jet.
And now My Chemical Romance is hopping on the moon bounce with the rest of them with their new release The Black Parade. The band that tore through their previous release with 39 minutes of buzzsaw guitar noise slows it down this time around with ballads and breakdowns that channel Queen and Guns 'N Roses.
Should we be impressed or bored? Good question.
MCR frontman Gerald Way has professed his love for theater, and much of this album is his stab at those grandiose productions Queen made famous. Lead single "Welcome to the Black Parade" is the most dramatic of this new batch of tunes, with its delicate piano introduction that builds into a marching drumbeat until both are met with a wailing guitar line. By this time Way is screaming out how he came to be the "savior of the broken, the beaten, and the damned." It's then that the old MCR attacks, as the speedy punk guitars kick in. The halves are radically different, but each is impressive in its own right.
The old MCR, the one from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, was all about venom, with each lyric hitting listeners’ ears as if Way constantly sang with a sarcastic sneer. It was cathartic in the way it forced you to emulate that mindset just to sing along. On Black Parade tracks like "House of Wolves" and "The Sharpest Lives," Way recasts this style with new fervor and the songs explode with menacing energy.
The rest of The Black Parade is dark and somber, most lyrics a mix of defeated and depressed moments. But here’s the catch for all the ADD, need-for-speed children: The ballads are actually pretty good. "I Don't Love You" hits all the right chords for a relationship gone to shambles. The soft keys of "Cancer" echo the somber sentiment perfectly.
The Black Parade proves MCR can do both styles well. The disc’s only downfall is that sometimes the two don't mingle well back to back. But that's the thing about a big, theatrical production: it has movements, and you can still love the show even if you aren't in the mood for some scenes. So, skip past what you don’t like and enjoy the rest. It’s worth the effort. - David Pessah, kNewIt06
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