Vinyl Review: My Chemical Romance- May Death Never Stop You: Greatest Hits 2001 – 2013

I’m actually pretty well pleased that I received this record so soon after the release date.  My Chemical Romance were a pop-punk band from New Jersey who released four albums and a collection of 5 seven inch singles between 2001 and 2013.  Two of their albums, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and The Black Parade, are among my favorite albums of all time.  18 of their songs are on my top 1000 most played playlist…

When I opened my record, I was pleased to see that, as a bonus, I received a DVD of outtakes from all of their videos.  I haven’t watched those yet, as I opened the package about 3 hours ago, but still, there could be some cool stuff in there.

The album starts off with Fake Your Death, the last track they ever recorded as a band.  Next up are two tracks from their debut album, the often overlooked I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.  This album was my first introduction to them, even though I didn’t remember the name of the band until their second album was released.  I remember seeing the video below on MTV2 or some such around the time it was first released.

There are then four tracks from Three Cheers, including my re-introduction to the band I’m Not Okay (I Promise) and the song that made me fall for them, Helena.  When their second album was released, I must’ve had it on regular rotation in my car for the better part of a year.  This is also where many people had their first introduction to the band.  The video for Helena was in heavy rotation on VH1, spending months on their weekly Top 20 countdown.  Quite a feat for a pop-punk band.

This song sounds fantastic with the warm hum of vinyl behind it.

Side B features 4 out of 5 tracks representing The Black Parade, one of my 25 favorite albums of all time (coming soon to a blog near you).  The original album is centered around the theme of getting old, death, and what happens after.  Tracks such as Welcome to the Black Parade, Mama, and Teenagers are all represented on this record.  To me, though, the centerpiece of the album is Cancer.  This song has imprinted itself on my soul because I actually knew somebody who was dying of cancer at the time this song came out.  I read another review of May Death Never Stop You which said that Cancer and Mama felt like filler, but to me they’re essential pieces of the My Chem catalog.  I myself couldn’t wait to hear them for the first time on record.

Now comes to the tracks I haven’t heard yet…

Their 4th album, Danger Days:  The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, is a concept album about a post-apocalyptic world where rival gangs take their orders from radio DJs.  That album was a let down for me after The Black Parade.  It did feature two great tracks though, Vampire Money (about how bands at the time were competing to be on the soundtracks to a certain teen vampire movie series) and Sing.  About this time, the tsunami in Japan happened, and My Chem re-recorded Sing with all Japanese instrumentation and called it SING for Japan.

The Greatest Hits set completely eschews their final 5 singles, essentially it was their last album, in favor of three previously unreleased demos from before their first album came out.  Skylines and Turnstiles was written while two of the members of the band were watching the events of September 2001.

Overall, I would have preferred The Black Parade on vinyl in its entirety, but this may have been my only chance to get many of the best songs by this band in my record collection.  I look forward to playing this with some regularity.

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You were right by Built to Spill

I’m sure this has been done somewhere before, but I always kinda wanted to see this all laid bare.  In 1999, Boise band Built to Spill released their fourth album, their second on a major label, titled Keep It Like A Secret.  One of the tracks on that album was called You Were Right, and featured allusions to lines from songs by other artists.  I’ve copied the lyrics from another site, and will attempt to annotate each referenced line with a youtube video.  Everybody, ready ’cause here it goes:

 

 

You were wrong when you said everything’s gonna be alright
You were wrong when you said everything’s gonna be alright

You were right when you said all that glitters isn’t gold

You were right when you said all we are is dust in the wind

You were right when you said we’re all just bricks in the wall

And when you said manic depression’s a frustrated mess

You were wrong when you said everything’s gonna be alright
You were wrong when you said everything’s gonna be alright
You were wrong when you said everything’s gonna be alright

You were right when you said you can’t always get what you want

You were right when you said it’s a hard rain’s gonna fall

You were right when you said were still running against the wind

Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone

You were right when you said this is the end

Do you ever think about it?
Do you ever think about it?
Do you ever think about it?
Do you ever think about it?

They were untouchable, and untouchable is something to be

 

Against Me! is a band with a very interesting history.  They started out as a two piece, Tom Gabel and Kevin Mahon.  Together, they recorded an EP, Crime, as Forgiven by…

I have bought that EP twice, the first time on cd, with six tracks, and the second time when I started buying my favorite albums on vinyl, with four tracks. Kevin Mahon left Against Me! and formed the Forgetters, whom I will blog about at some point in time, but their first official release contains so many great lines, too many to be contained by the two songs above alone.

In 2008, Tom Gabel was on a solo tour and happened to be playing at the Knitting Factory on Kevin Mahon’s birthday and invited him up on stage.  Thought not in order, they performed all the tracks from Crime, allowing a group of fans to her the original duo perform those songs one more time.

in no particular order:

“And may the likes of this song never make one fucking dollar/only for a demo tape to be played until it’s broken/and then remembered only for what it was/that we gave them hell”

“Can anybody tell me/why god don’t speak for me/why Jesus never called on me to part the fucking sea”

“Not while walking is still honest and you haven’t given up on me”

“Do we only need to keep working because it pays rent”

“There’s a height beyond skyscrapers/there’s existence beyond the freeway/more than pictures in magazines/more than tragedy in a rock and roll song”

And an example from another track on the EP:

“Right down the street/a prostitute is selling the closest thing this country has to offer” from Y’all Dont’ Want to Step to Dis.

Thing I learned today

So, one of my most played songs is Malvina Reynolds’s Little Boxes.  In less than 90 seconds, she tells you everything you need to know about urban sprawl.

What I found out today, is that she lifted the cadence of the tune from a song called Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Apparently, it’s a song about a guy who takes his girl out to nice places by pawning everything he has.  

This is actually kinda really nerdy

As the most famous band in history, The Beatles catalog has been analyzed like no other collection of music.
A piece of interesting trivia: on the Abbey Road album, both sides end with an incomplete note. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) almost sounds like it cuts off and ends side A.

And then there’s Her Majesty. The track was crudely spliced away from between Mean Mr. Mustard and Polythene Pam, but an employee at Abbey Road studios took 14 seconds of lead-out tape at the end of the album.
Interestingly, the first note of the track was the original end of Mustard, while the final portion of Her Majesty’s final note is still at the beginning of Pam.

Leave it to The Beatles to put the song back in the right order for Beatles Rock Band from back in 2009.

Dirty Girl (live with strings)

The eels are mostly one guy, Mark Oliver Everett, and they’re mostly known for one song, Novocaine for the Soul.
I’ve stuck with them through the years, however, and this song is the 4th most played song in my itunes, with 84 plays.

My story about why I like this song so much, and what it means to me, begins in early 2010. My current girlfriend and I were just starting out and didn’t really know what we were doing or where things were going. I picked up Eels with strings: Live at Town Hall from the library. It was nice hearing several familiar (to me) songs from a new perspective.
My girlfriend was getting cold feet about getting into a serious relationship and wanted to discuss her feelings about it.
I was enjoying my newfound happiness and didn’t want things to come to an end.

Enter Mark Oliver Everett with a track I’d heard before, but it didn’t stick out until I heard it as a mournful ballad with a string section.

Sample lyrics:
“I like a girl with a dirty mouth/someone that I can believe/we had a window not open to long/but that time is good and gone”

“And if I ever see her again/walking by/with some new guy/i know that i will need to pretend/and hope our eyes keep telling lies”
“once in a while/your life gets so good/worth all the trouble of the past/that was because i think i always knew/good things don’t ever last”

My girlfriend and I made it through it, and we are happy together, but i made it through those couple of days with the comfort of wallowing in this song.

My #1 most played song has 93 listens. When it gets to 100, I’ll be posting my top 25 most played songs from itunes.

Girl Anachronism

This song was on my list of my 100 favorite songs of all time. It is also on the Dresden Dolls album i’m hoping to find on vinyl on Record Store Day. I’ve played this song very loud, shouting at the top of my lungs more times than I can even remember.
It doesn’t even matter that I’m not a girl, it’s just so damned fun to sing.

Fiddle and the Drum

A Perfect Circle is a side project of Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan. On election day 2004, they put out an album of protest songs. Some of the songs were original, some of them covers.
The album ends with Fiddle and the Drum, a cover of Joni Mitchell.

Mr. Keenan is a curious individual, he’s in 3 well known bands, but he gets stage fright, so he performs from the back of the stage.

Foxboro Hot Tubs back in action??!??

Foxboro Hot Tubs are the members of Green Day plus their touring guitarist. They released an album in 2008 and have played sporadic shows since. They have another side project called The Network where they play music reminiscent of 80s new wave msuic.

This is from Rachel Ray’s SXSW party of all places. It’s also a cover of The Who…