Archive for the ‘My Chemical Romance’ Category

[POSTPONED: September 22, 2020] My Chemical Romance [moved to September 21, 2021]

indexI enjoyed My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade album quite a lot, although I haven’t listened to all that much beyond it.

I wasn’t really aware that they’d broken up because my son and his friends like them and listen to them on trips (sometimes).  When this tour was announced, I thought it would be so much fun to go to see this massive spectacle (which I assume it will be).

I bought a ticket for me, my son and his friend and the seats were great!  I was really excited about the show and was hoping that it wouldn’t get postponed–end of September seemed like maybe we’d be out of lockdown.

Then on June 16th, it was announced that the tour would be pushed back to next year.  I am getting rather concerned that rescheduled dates are going to be on the same night.  Turns out this sow is the day after the Pet Shop Boys show.  But since I had great seats, I’m glad we get to keep them.

One more year just builds up more anticipation.


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terry.jpgSOUNDTRACK: COHEED & CAMBRIA-Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. 1: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (2005).

coheed.jpgFor reasons I’m unclear about, I had the completely wrong perception of what this band would be like. I had read a few things and heard from a few people some differing stories. I decided to check them out based on this input, and I decided, against my anal retentivity, to get Part IV of their five part collection. (This is because it was really cheap on Amazon).

So, given this, I don’t know what C&C sounds like on the first records, and maybe they sounded more like what I assumed they would sound like. And, frankly, given the images that the album comes with, coheed2.jpg one would tend to think that deep dark heavy metal is contained within. In fact, I was pretty sure that I was in for a heavier sort of Dream Theater. The imagery of this collection is very dark/scary/spooky, and I was told many times that the band was quite prog-rockish, often sounding like Rush. Oh, and the singer sounds like a woman.

Imagine my surprise then to play the CD and (ignoring the opening string intro which doesn’t signify anything anymore) hear a whole bunch of relatively short, really pretty, uncomplicated songs. There are a number of tracks on this that could be huge hits. As I listened some more, I realized what I thought the band sounded like…they sounded like Queensryche. In fact, they sound like any number of 80s metal bands. It was really weird and unsettling to have my expectations totally blown.

The first 11 songs are, for the most part, short, uncomplicated songs. They have beautiful melodies, and yet often have very disturbingly violent lyrics. (In what practically sounds like a lullaby–“I’ll do anything for you; kill anyone for you.”) There’s an awful lot of killing and threatening and the like going on here. And, yes, the singer can sound like a woman. Evidently this killing and violence is rampant through the sequence of discs, and there is some kind of “story” that explains it. But I didn’t really read closely enough to decipher it.

It’s not until track 12 the indicatively titled: “Willing Well I: Fuel for the Feeding End” that the prog stuff kicks in. Now we have some seven minute songs, we have some complex riffing going on and an occasional time change. There’s also call backs to earlier sections of the album. This was certainly more of what I was expecting, although, indeed, it’s still not THAT heavy. Some of the tracks so resemble Rush’s proggy heyday. Most unusual for me was that the long meandering guitar solo on the very last song “The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut” sounded like it could have fit perfectly as the long, meandering guitar solo in Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” Go ahead, listen for it, I’ll give you fifteen minutes.

The first time I listened to this disc, I really didn’t like it because it wasn’t anything like what I expected. On my second and third listens I started to enjoy it a lot more. I started to really groove to the songs. I also subsequently read a description of the album on allmusic to see if I was crazy, and indeed, I was not. They say that the band is very emo in an 80’s metal sort of way. And, I totally agree. They mentioned Queensryche as well (although they say Operation Mindcrime and I say Rage for Order) and as soon as I saw the “emo” tag, I thought about My Chemical Romance as a recent soundalike band.

As for the content of the epic, I have no idea what’s going on. I haven’t been able to read the lyric sheet yet (as I listen in the car) and I know I am coming way in the middle of this whole thing, so I know that I’m missing boatloads of information. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it enough to seek out some other parts just to see what the whole thing is about.

It’s nice when an unexpected surprise turns pleasant.

[DIGRESSION: BACKSTORY:] When I was 12 my sainted Aunt Lil and I used to travel from our little ‘burb of Hawthorne, all the way to the Willowbrook mall in Wayne by bus. A transfer in Paterson was required, and retrospectively, I am amazed that this little old lady traveled all that way, and made an exchange in a fairly “bad” neighborhood all the time. Once in a while I would go with her and we’d make a day of it. My “reward” for going was that I’d get a record or two. (more…)

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mcr.jpgI know that Green Day is derivative. It’s obvious that they aren’t the originators of any kind of punk anything, and yet, they seem to have been the catalyst for a new breed of poppy punk bands, and they make an excellent reference point for these snotty young kids who sing catchy choruses with brash guitars. My Chemical Romance follow in a Green Day footstep. I don’t know too much about their previous records, but this one garnered rave reviews, so I thought I’d check it out. It seems to be some kind of concept album.

It seems like every five years or so a “concept” album comes out that seems to strike a chord with the people of the time. Let’s see: Pink Floyd: The Wall (1979); Queensryche: Operation Mindcrime (1988); Nine Inch Nails: The Downward Spiral (1994); Green Day: American Idiot (2004). There are of course many more, but these seemed to really be popular at their time and beyond. So now we have this new post-Green Day concept album. The concept is of “the Patient” who is dying of cancer (which okay, after now two books and this CD, cancer is a bit too prolific on this blog, but I’m not yet ready to add a tag for it [UPDATE: tag added]). I haven’t delved too deeply into the concept of this concept album, but I can say that the songs are overall pretty catchy and singalongy which, aside from being weird for an album about cancer, makes for good listening.

The album may be a little too poppy for my tastes, but “The Teenager” is really an outstanding song (aside from the part that breaks down into only drums and vocals which is a bit too 80s metal for me) but the rest of the song is great. I’ll write an update if I get an opinion of the “concept” of the album at a later date.

[READ: June 19, 2007] The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Speaking of concepts, this book has a great one. It is part novel, part graphic novel and part imagined biography of the classic filmmaker Georges Méliès. The book itself is really beautiful: it is designed to open flat so you can really enjoy the pictures which span two pages. There are some 280 original drawings, interspersed with fictional writing. The drawings themselves are quite astonishing. Selznick’s style is of a very thick pencil line, almost crosshatching style. He conveys realism very well, and the overall feel of the book is one of a cinematic experience, including zooms and fades to black. (more…)

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