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The Black Parade

by My Chemical Romance

Released October 20, 2006 via Reprise Records

Reviewed October 20, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Welcome to the Black Parade (53%), Dead! (34%), Famous Last Words (32%)

My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade is not only synonymous with 2000s emo—and arguably, “emo” as a term itself—it’s that era’s most ambitious effort. Fifteen years later, the group’s reliance on theatrics and an eagerness to break the traditional mold of emo-pop/pop punk doesn’t seem extraordinary; which in large part is a direct result of their own work. Their previous efforts marked an initial departure from their post-hardcore roots to transition into an edgy pop-punk sound; even re-emerging in their third release with an opera centering around “The Patient,” a dying man. Death takes the form of a Black Parade, an eccentric procession of sorts, providing glimpses into his life and subsequent transition to what comes beyond. While fictional, encompassing a life into a mere 51 minutes is nonetheless extremely complicated, so MCR’s ability to shift between sounds and moods well is exceptional. Piano ballads are often juxtaposed with more energetic bits as the band illustrate the narrator’s memories— regrets, the most joyous moments, and everything in between—as well as his own confrontation with death and the path to acceptance. The Black Parade is soaked in melodrama, and there are occasional moments where it becomes overbearing. But nothing in life is more overbearing than death; My Chemical Romance leans into their own dramatics, and that combination of risk-taking and self-awareness keeps this record’s legacy alive to this day. – Dominick (8.8/10)

The significance of the G note opening “Welcome to the Black Parade” for many millennials says more about The Black Parade’s cultural significance than words ever could. By no means is The Black Parade a perfect album, but My Chemical Romance perfectly fuses emo-punk from their most angsty days with a certain pomp. The result is a lavish cabaret for the sickly and the dead, featuring hints of soured power-pop and glistening glam rock. It knows exactly when to muster up the courage to yell in your face and when to play down the vivacity for a sobered, sombre moment. The Black Parade rebirthed the ‘stan’ in rock––for better or for worse––along with the conceptual beams to support an elaborate opera that makes up for its faults on retrospective listens. Up until its famous last words, The Black Parade is some good fun when focusing on its artistry instead of the faux-scene fringes every kid had after listening to it. – Cam (7.5/10)

Dominick: 8.8/10 | DeVán: 8.2/10 | Hadley: 8/10 | Alan: 7.8/10 | Cam: 7.5/10 | Jared: 7.5/10


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