Welcome to ‘The Black Parade’

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By Tyler Davidson

By Tyler Davidson

Citing rock giants like Queen and Smashing Pumpkins as influences, New Jersey-based five-piece My Chemical Romance has released its third studio album, “The Black Parade.”

The disc is a concept album, similar to Pink Floyd’s classic “The Wall.” The “Black Parade” revolves around a person known simply as “The Patient.”

The Patient learns that he does not have much time left to live.

“The Black Parade” chronicles his struggle with that fact, as well as interactions with family and friends as he descends into death.

The CD kicks off with “The End,” a mellow introduction separate from the patient’s story.

A powerful song in and of itself, “The End” invites the listener to sit back and listen to the story contained within the “tragic affair.”

This transitions smoothly into the ironically upbeat “Dead!” The Patient learns about a “complication in [his] heart,” and that he’s only got a few weeks left to live.

“This is How I Disappear,” a highlight of the album, is driven by guitars and consists of The Patient speaking to his lover. The Patient lets his lover know that he is scared to lose her. “This is How I Disappear” is emotional and dramatic, it is referenced throughout the album that The Patient is not well liked.

“The Sharpest Lives,” lyrically and musically, is one of the more resonant tracks on “The Black Parade.”

It not only deals with The Patient’s past drug abuse, but also the real-life addiction that front-man Gerard Way overcame.

In the album’s first single, the hit “Welcome to the Black Parade,” The Patient is nearing death. The song contains incredible Queen-style guitar solos, as well as an uplifting and complex backbeat its easily one of the best tracks on the disc.

Death comes to The Patient in the form of his most cherished memory.

The marching band he watched along with his father in his youth.

Thus, the concept of “The Black Parade” is introduced, as the parade lets him know that “though you’re dead and gone…your memory will carry on.”

This transitions into “I Don’t Love You,” a mellow track marking a change of attitude in The Patient, as he becomes scornful towards his lover.

He is almost certain that she will leave him in his weakened state.

“House of Wolves”, a jazz-style track, is one of the darkest on the album, in several ways. It tells of The Patient looking back at his life and realizing that Hell might be waiting for him in the afterlife.

“Mama,” featuring an unexpected cameo by Liza Minnelli, tells of the stressed and spiteful relationship between the patient and his mother, a stark contrast with the warm connection he has with his father .

The slow-tempo”Sleep” describes The Patient’s feelings of wanting to simply give up on life.

He tells his loved ones to just accept the bad person that he is. This gives way to “Teenagers,” one of the shorter tracks on the album, and a song with a perky tone.

It is unclear if this has anything to do with the story of The Patient.

One of the oldest songs, “Disenchanted,” is the most depressing. In it, The Patient says that he is glad he had a decent childhood, but it was all “a lifelong wait for a hospital stay.”

The story concludes with “Famous Last Words,” one of the more uplifting on “The Black Parade.” The guitars give a sense of peace that discusses The Patient’s acceptance of hope in the face of death.

No longer is he afraid to leave those he loves “I’m not afraid to walk this world alone.”

“The Black Parade” closes with the short hidden track, “Blood.” With a somewhat humorous tone to it, “Blood” tells of The Patient referring to the nurses as vampires due to all the blood that they take.

My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade” is one of the best albums of 2006, and is an amazing follow-up to the equally great “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.” “The Black Parade” is definitely worth the price of admission.

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