“You like D&D, Audrey Hepburn, Fangoria, Harry Houdini and croquet. You can’t swim, you can’t dance, and you don’t know karate…”
As you’ve probably seen elsewhere on the internet – you read that in Ray Toro’s voice, didn’t you? And there’s a good reason for that. It’s an iconic clip and image amongst three and a half minutes filled with ‘em: the bullies, the uniforms, the swift kiss in the garage, the almost-kiss outside the lockers, the walk through the halls…
My Chemical Romance made being an outcast feel not so bad. They said it was okay to be yourself, flaws and all, way before that became such a commoditised and co-opted cop-out for bands with nothing of note to actually say.
Thank You For The Venom bared its teeth while Helena broke hearts and offered up a baton that The Black Parade would later run with. The Ghost Of You opened the floodgates marked ‘epic’ and redefined what this band were about. The red ink splattered across the album’s artwork invited you into its otherworldly, pseudo horror fantasy world, yet always felt rooted in the sentiments and ultra-real extremes of this one. There’s an attitude in Gerard Way’s words and his vocal delivery, a zip about the guitar licks that feel grounded in punk as much as classic rock influences. It was the perfect storm of sounds in between, falling somewhere within a musical lineage that evoked some of the finest memories and moments of Misfits, Cramps, AFI, Alkaline Trio or Queen.
It’s an album that means a lot to millions of people, within 13 songs that speak of specific thoughts and feelings experienced by a group of five wide-eyed young men from New Jersey. It made them stars beyond all comprehension or intention.
But strip away all that noise and circumstance, play that record from start to finish and what you’re left with is a band at the peak of their considerable powers, right on the cusp of becoming a genuine worldwide phenomenon. It’s the anticipation of the pinnacle that feels the most thrilling on the rise; the ascension that makes the pay-off feel so euphoric.
That’s why Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge is My Chemical Romance’s best album.