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.