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My Chemical Romance, photographed during The Black Parade
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My Chemical Romance’s Best Songs, Picked By Your Favourite Bands

My Chemical Romance’s biggest songs, rated by Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and more

In the grand pantheon of 21st century rock music, one band stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of impact, creativity and managing to take over the mainstream. That band are My Chemical Romance. With four albums to their name, everyone has their favourite era of MCR – from the funereal theatrics of The Black Parade to the dayglo rock’n’roll of Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. Below, 18 of the biggest and brightest bands reflect on the epic career of Gerard Way and co., picking their favourite My Chem tracks of all time.

Welcome To The Black Parade

Simon Neil, Biffy Clyro: “We were making [Biffy’s fourth album] Puzzle when My Chemical Romance released The Black Parade and it was impossible to ignore. I loved the ambition of it. It had been a while since a rock band had that level of ambition and wanted to talk about it. They had the full package: they looked the part, the music fitted the look, there was a concept and the live show was part of it, too. Considering the fact that they started as a goth-rock punk band, they really elevated themselves on that record. It’s as close to an album by a band like Queen that we’ve had in the last 20 years. Even though it didn’t musically influence Puzzle, that level of conceptual ambition really appealed to me. Because Puzzle was such an emotionally-heavy record for me, I wanted to keep a hold of the concept, and keep a slight distance between me and what Puzzle was about. It’s thanks to My Chemical Romance that I was able to do that. We were lucky enough to play with them and Muse at Wembley a few years back. They’re really sound guys and they had a belief in their art. They believed in what they were doing. They didn’t care if people didn’t get it or mocked it. They thought, ‘No, people will understand it.’ When you look back at the reaction from the Daily Mail, it’s crazy. Like, ‘You mean, you think My Chemical Romance are dangerous and you’re the fucking Daily Mail?’ I think, ‘Reverse that.’ It’s a great record, a fantastic record. And the song Welcome To The Black Parade is a masterpiece. It’s a beautifully written song and it works on so many levels.”

Dead!

Sam Carter, Architects: “The whole Black Parade concept was cool, and I love it when bands go for something way out of their comfort zone. Dead! Is probably the MCR song I like best. The whole idea of them stepping up from being just another punk band to becoming this theatrical powerhouse has to be admired.”

Bulletproof Heart

Lzzy Hale, Halestorm: “Bulletproof Heart never became a single, but it easily could have been. I’m never entirely sure what Gerard’s singing about, but I almost don’t have to know – I just like the pictures he paints with words on this track in particular. We were touring Europe when we first heard Danger Days…, and I remember calling up their producer, Rob Cavallo, just to tell him how amazing it was!”

This Is The Best Day Ever

Brendon Urie, Panic! At The Disco: “We were writing our first album [A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out] at the time I first heard this, and we knew we needed to try to do something different like these guys, so there’s no denying the influence they had on us. I love the edgy, jitteriness of this song, because I’m an edgy, jittery guy. It doesn’t help that I drink three cups of coffee every morning! I think what drew me to My Chem was the same thing that drew me to Rage Against The Machine: there was something angry and urgent about it and I wanted people to know how I listened to it because it expressed how I was feeling.”

Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us

James Veck-Gilodi, Deaf Havana: “The lyrics are great! Gerard writes in quite a similar style to how I do – it’s quite real, and there are no metaphors. He’s very raw in this song – it seems to be about his body image and even alcoholism and drug-taking.”

Helena

Dani Winter-Bates, Bury Tomorrow: “When Helena came out, I felt that My Chemical Romance were doing something new and fresh, and I was really into that. You listen to a track like this and they’re putting together goth and punk and taking it to a new level in a way no-one else was doing at the time. It was such a great way to start the album, too – it’s kind of like, ‘This is what we do, so brace yourself.’”

Sleep

Ash Costello, New Years Day:MCR played a big role in not only who I am musically, but who I am as a person. When I discovered them, it was the first time I felt like I belonged somewhere. I dressed and did my make-up just like Gerard – he was my hero. I felt less alone and, finally, I felt cool about being such a nerd. It really shaped me and gave me confidence. I wanted to start a band so I could hopefully someday make someone else feel the way they did. When The Black Parade came out, I was floored. The entire album is incredible, but Sleep is my favourite because I could really feel and sense that Gerard was in pain when he wrote it.”

DESTROYA

Andrew W.K.: “The crashing cymbals and excellent snare drum sound help push DESTROYA into powerful party territory. Before you know it, the song is over and the sounds and feelings fade, but the tension remains. It definitely leaves you wondering where the next song on Danger Days… will take you on this journey.”

The Sharpest Lives

Jamie Campbell Bower, COUNTERFEIT.: “I remember listening to this song for the first time as an angsty teenager, and thinking, ‘This guy gets how I feel!’ Gerard has an amazing way with words, and there’s such a good story to the track, but at the same time there’s so much more. Take the line, ‘You can watch me corrode like a beast in repose’ – what amazing imagery! You always need some balls-to-the-wall rock on a massive, epic record such as The Black Parade, and musically this one totally nails that. It’s got that fast guitar with the palm muting on it, and to me, it almost seems like it’s coming out of the back of [Three Cheers… track] Helena. It feels more like a nod back to Three Cheers… than any other song on The Black Parade. I do love the crazy production on it, too, with the weird breathing at the end of the first chorus, and that influenced me without me realising! While making our debut I’ve been putting weird vocal sounds on the songs, and I think what I’ve come up with sounds amazing – and then I’ll go back and listen, and think, ‘Oh yeah! That’s where that came from!’”

Disenchanted

Cristina Scabbia, Lacuna Coil: “I love Disenchanted, and the whole The Black Parade. I love Time Burton, so when I heard [his costume designer, Colleen Atwood] was designing the clothes for the Welcome To The Black Parade video, I knew it would work well. I never got the chance to see MCR live, sadly. I was meant to see them in LA once, but I couldn’t make it – and I heard amazing reviews!”

I'm Not Okay (I Promise)

Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy: “I’m Not Okay blasted on the scene out of nowhere, and you knew then that MCR were a band to be reckoned with. While their later material on The Black Parade will go down in history as some of their best music, I’m Not Okay was the first thing that I had heard of theirs where I went, ‘This is absolutely insane!’ It had an awesome video, too.”

House Of Wolves

Awsten Knight, Waterparks: “When I first bought The Black Parade I remember racing home from [U.S. supermarket] Target and sitting in my living room listening to the whole thing – my parents had way cooler speakers than I did at the time – and it totally floored me with how huge it was. The Black Parade was one of the first albums I heard where I got a chubby over all the layers and textures they threw into the songs. One of the songs I remember completely kicking my head in was The House Of Wolves. As soon as it kicked in, I metaphorically and physically shat my pants all the way down my legs – it’s so punk-sounding! I really love fast, aggressive punky stuff, but I also love legitimate, high-quality recordings, so it was perfect for me. Also, I remember my eyes melting out of my face during the ‘blood runs down’ ad-libs in the bridge. Fuck, that song is so tight! Thanks a lot, Kerrang!… now I have to listen to it 600 times today.”

The Ghost Of You

Matt Tuck, Bullet For My Valentine: “The first time I saw the World War II-themes video for this song, my first thought was, ‘Our videos are shit!’ It really is one of the most epic and cinematic videos of all time. I respect that kind of ambition, that the band were so into representing their music in that way, 100 per cent. When I listen to The Ghost Of You, I have a strong reaction to it, which is what all good music should do.”

It’s Not A Fashion Statement, It’s A Deathwish

Ben Barlow, Neck Deep: “…Deathwish was one of those songs where, as soon as it comes on, it grabs you. You want to headbang straight away. That it has such great lyrics is the icing on the cake. Gerard’s always been so good when it comes to lyrics, and strapped on the back of such a balls-out song, his words are jammed down your throat.”

Teenagers

Rou Reynolds, Enter Shikari: “This song is just so ridiculously catchy. It’s big, silly, modern rock’n’roll riffs done right, against the backdrop of an almost cheeky-sounding, plodding rhythm section. It’s kind of restrained for My Chem, a very raw-sounding track, yet still very modern and slick. It has some good lyrical content, too, whether it’s about fighting back against a society that looks down on those who like to dress a little different, or a critique of the hideous mess the mainstream press made out of trying to understand ‘emo’. Essentially it’s a song to embolden the individual, the non-conformer, the creative, the dreamer, the outsider. Every time I hear it, it reminds me of supporting them at the Hammersmith Palais in London for their Black Parade release show – looking back, it seems they played a lot of the album, but they didn’t play Teenagers. We were just getting started, so it was a huge deal for us to play with them at such an important milestone of a show; and at such a plush and swanky venue, too!”

Mama

Deryck Whibley, Sum 41: “The Black Parade is a really great record, but it’s a tough one to evaluate: firstly because they’re friends of ours, and secondly because it’s not a record I grew up with, so it didn’t necessarily have the same impact as it would have with those that did. Mama was the stand-out track for me, however, I was really impressed by the theatricality of it. It surprised me, too. I always thought that My Chemical Romance were a good band, but that album and that song in particular took it to a whole new level. I was interested in the concept of the record, because it’s something that’s different for me. Each of my records were a snapshot of my life at that particular time – I guess I’m a self-indulgent writer – but it was cool to see a band writing towards a big overarching idea.”

Cancer

Ben Bruce, Asking Alexandria: “I’m a sucker for sad songs, and Cancer is sad as fuck! It was very brave to put a song as stark as this in the middle of such a flamboyant album. It’s almost like the record peaks, gives you a breather with Cancer, and then peaks again.”

Kiss The Ring

Jenna McDougall, Tonight Alive: “My Chem came from theatrical, emo rock, but then always had a rock’n’roll influence and aspect to their music, and that shines through on Kiss The Ring. They allowed for different genres of rock to come through in their music. They leave behind a legacy of theatrical rock that’s accessible to a really wide audience.”

Posted on January 29th 2020, 5:16pm
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