Prior to the concept album The Black Parade that shot the band into stardom was the also heavily themed Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. Explained by Gerard Way in the band’s video diary from Life On The Murder Scene, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, was the album that defined My Chemical Romance’s sound.
On one end of the scale there’s the band’s first album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, a chaotic mix of first triumphs compared to the refined and structured third release The Black Parade. Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge was the prized middle child, while the band’s latest album Danger Days seemed like a completely different era of My Chemical Romance that never had a chance to be explored.
Singles that were released were I’m Not Okay, Helena and The Ghost Of You. However, the songs that really stood out were It’s Not A Fashion Statement, It’s A Deathwish, You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison, Cemetery Drive and Thank You For The Venom.
Storytelling was a big element in the way Gerard Way wrote his lyrics, being a comic artist he wanted to create songs that told stories and often used metaphors to represent real situations. In It’s Not A Fashion Statement, It’s A Deathwish you get lost in the story of the narrator who seeks revenge. The verses, chorus’ and bridge all slur together to create a song that gave you the same sort of feeling after watching an entire movie or reading a book.
Each song is a different story, and while this element of vengeance is kept throughout the entire album, it’s the way the music works that separates one track from the other. The arrangement of You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison should be noted, as the way each instrument is introduced adds to the allure and mystery behind the story of two prison inmates. The way the instruments go to extremes of subtlety and coarseness exemplifies the reality of the situation behind the lyrics.
Cemetery Drive and Thank You For The Venom are also songs that show compelling instrumental work. Guitarists Ray Toro, lead, and Frank Iero, rhythm, show off their abilities and it’s their performance that stands out in the two tracks. The intricacy behind the rhythm and lead’s articulation in Cemetery Drive is what keeps the song going, acting as a sort of additional pulse to the already thriving drums. Then there’s the guitar solos in Thank You For The Venom which inspired me to play guitar myself.
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My Chemical Romance were also known for their massive fanbase, and as a community many mourned the day the band announced it’s split. With a little blurb left on their still-active website, stating ‘it has come time for it to end’, the loss of what was a band who saved lives is certainly not the end of any of the band members’ stories. Vocalist Gerard Way has continued to pursue a career in comics, creating The Umbrella Academy series, Frank Iero continues to work in the music industry as the vocalist of Leathermouth and has joined James Dewees to form Death Spells, an electronic-hardcore group. All members have their respective wives and Way and Iero also have children of their own to support. With or without their music, they all have something to live for.
What was once described as therapy for the band members when the first formed, My Chemical Romance had become something no one expected. Whether it was the cult status, the worldwide tours or the loyalty of fans, what brought them all together was the music. To me it was Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge that was the pinnacle of their musical success, but no matter which songs or albums any fans or critics alike loved or loathed, their music will forever carry on.