They say imitation is the highest form of flattery… if that’s the case The Black Parade is quite the glowing homage to the likes of Pink Floyd, Queen, and at times even the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
When it comes to copping other bands styles there are right and wrong ways to do it. Done wrong and a band can come across as a bunch of no-talent hacks who have to rip off other artists with far more talent than they. Done correctly and they’re seen as torch-bearers, taking the styles of the bands who influenced them and putting their own stamp on that music to create a sound all their own and generally contributing to the evolution of rock.
With The Black Parade, My Chemical Romance has done the latter. While their opening track The End there’s an obvious Pink Floyd influence as the track is reminiscent of In the Flesh which opened their classic album, The Wall. From there the album shifts to Dead! If The End catches the listener’s attention, Dead! grabs the listener by the collar and forces them to pay attention. The album doesn’t really let up until after its signature anthem, Welcome to the Black Parade which is every bit an anthem for MCR that Bohemian Rhapsody was for Queen or that Another Brick In the Wall Pt. 2 was for Pink Floyd.
While this is a great album from start to finish, there is a slight lull with I Don’t Love You, probably the most emo track on the album in a Coldplay meets Green Day kind of way… With the music bearing an uncanny resemblance to Coldplay and Gerard Way’s vocals conjuring Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong it makes for a rather unusual combination. It’s a musical combination that really shouldn’t work, yet somehow MCR manages to pull it off with flair. Even so, I Don’t Love You, while still a strong song, is probably the weakest material this album has to offer.
With Mama the band once again gives a tip of the hat to Pink Floyd, this time paying their respects to Floyd’s Mother. Lyrically the songs bear some similarities and share some of the sentiment lyrically is where the comparisons end. Where Floyd’s Mother is generally somber and melancholic, MCR’s Mama spits fire and vitriol.
Teenagers is another great track that in just over 2 minutes captures the frustration the rest of us have with teenagers and teenage angst. Add to that it has the most quotable lyric on the whole album:
Teenagers scare the livin’ shit out of me
They could care less as long as
In the January/February 07 issue of Blender magazine The Black Parade was rated the number 1 album of 2006. These magazine polls while interesting rarely reflect my personal tastes, but after having my expectations so vastly exceeded I must concede that this time around Blender got it right.