Back again: the return of MCR

My+Chemical+Romance+got+back+together+after+a+7+year+long+hiatus.+

Lara Janssen [Creative Commons]

My Chemical Romance got back together after a 7 year long hiatus.

By Lily Langstaff, The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘emo?’ Dyed hair, the color black, band tees, and Converse? My Chemical Romance? Emo has changed over the decades from a music genre to, for some people, a lifestyle. In the 2000’s, it was a popular style, (in some opinions) but was replaced with more alternative styles. Former emos swapped out their high tops for Doc Martin’s, grew out the fringe, and began obsessing with Arctic Monkeys and The Neighborhood. 

I would know. Believe it or not, I’m a former emo myself. You wouldn’t recognize me in middle school. I had hair so short it was nearly shaved, dyed a bright red that resembled Gerard Way’s hair – kudos to you if you know the name. I only ever listened to music too loud for the elderly, perfected my eyeliner wing, learned to play bass, cut up a bunch of band shirts, raged against the machine, and scared my fair share of people for fun. Once an emo, always an emo. I once convinced a group of Frazer boys that I am a Satanist, and they actually believed me. 

And, as a former emo, I’m actually pretty happy with what’s going on in the music world right now. Fall Out Boy, Green Day, and Weezer announced their Hella Mega tour last year, Hayley Williams dropped a single in January, Waterparks recently released an album, and Patrick Stump composed an entire soundtrack for a movie coming out this August. Most importantly, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE HAS RETURNED. After six years, the band finally got back together. 

Speculation began in 2019, when cryptic tweets began to appear and the band’s social media profile picture changed to a black candle, followed by posts of other unexplained symbols. Last Halloween, a reunion show was announced, and fan freak-out quickly ensued. On Jan 19, a video titled “An Offering…” went up on the band’s YouTube page, a short video of cloaked, masked figures roaming through an ominous forest, accompanied by an unsettling, instrumental music and chanting. Ten days later, a 13-minute video titled “A summoning…” was posted. Even though it’s up for interpretation, the message is pretty clear. The video begins with a boy attempting to summon My Chemical Romance with the pretty stereotypical scene: candles, a pentagram, and a Oujia board. Throughout the course of the video, the boy is chased by Draculoids, terrifying, masked people from the “Danger Days” era, throughout various scenes of the My Chemical Romance timeline.

From social media posts to tour dates and new merch, it has been officially confirmed that every former emo’s favorite band is indeed back, hopefully to stay this time. My Chemical Romance was met with a very warm welcome back and are currently sold out for every single show date. 

So what even is the whole deal with MCR, and why should you even care? Well, to give you a brief lesson and educate you about one of the biggest bands of the decade, My Chemical Romance was formed by Gerard Way and Matt Pellisier in 2001. Gerard Way was in New York on Sept. 11, (he was pursuing a cartoonist career) when he witnessed the Twin Towers Fall. Devastated and badly shaken by this but also inspired, he wrote the song “Skylines and Turnstiles,” and My Chemical Romance was born. 

Ray Toro and Frank Iero, current guitarists, joined the same year, and they began recording songs for their debut album “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.” Released on July 23, 2002, the album was very conceptual, as was every album that followed. It contained heavy themes of vampires and violence and was full of heavy instrumentals, harsh vocals, and gothic, punk lyrics. The album told the story of a dead man in Hell, faced with the duty of killing a thousand evil men to bring the woman he loves back to life. Pretty hardcore, right? Though many emos around the world fell in love with the band with “IBYMB, YBMYL,” the turning point of their fame and fandom was in June of 2004, when their second album “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” was released. 

“Three Cheers” thrilled fans with its musical and lyrical anger and aggression. The cover art featured two bloody lovers, art done by Gerard Way himself. (The man created Netflix hit “The Umbrella Academy,” which was originally a series of comics.)  Four songs from this album became huge hits and are still replayed over and over today: “Helena,” “I’m Not Okay (I Promise),” “Thank You For the Venom,” and “The Ghost of You.” This album is a sort of a sequel to the previous album, with heavy themes of after-life, love, and loss. It’s a pretty hard-hitting album, and after a listen, you can kind of gain some perspective of why emos are, well, emo. 

Their next album, “The Black Parade,” was quickly a sensational, worldwide, massive hit. It was even more conceptual than their first two albums, following the story of a cancer-striken man known as The Patient on his journey after his death, starring Gerard himself as the leader of the Black Parade. Their touring and shows became huge, and fans began dressing up as members of the Parade. Many began practically worshipping the band at this point, and this album captures the peak of obsessive emos. Even today, something strikes deep in the heart when a former or current MCR die-hard gets G-noted. (For translation, the song “Welcome to the Black Parade” starts with the G-note, and it is very nostalgic for fans to hear.) 

The band’s most recent album, “Danger Days: the True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” has notably different vibes from any of their other albums. Upon its release in Nov. 2010, fans immediately obsessed over their new sound: a more pop-punk, psychedelic-rock style. Of course, the guitar solos and occasional screaming remained, but the concept was no longer about death or war. This time, it had a more political message to it. The idea of the album was a post-apocalyptic adventure in which the band’s alter egos (Party Poison, Jet-Star, Fun Ghoul, and Kobra Kid) fight against a corrupt corporation, Better Living Industries or “BL/ind.” The album release consisted of a series of music videos you would simply have to watch yourself to understand. “Danger Days” gave MCR fans music they could seriously dance to (and not just headbang) like “Na Na Na,” “Planetary (GO!)” and “SING.” Go ahead and give these songs a listen, but just not around your mother or your RA. Thank me later.

And, after 12 years, MCR broke up on March 22, 2013, shattering hearts around the world. Now that they’re back, it’s understandable that fans are thrilled.

There’s a lot to say about My Chemical Romance. They brought a lot of people happiness and hope in very dark times. They gave the world meaningful lyrics and inspiring messages. With this band, it’s more than just music. MCR taught us to carry on, to sing it out, to not be afraid to walk this world alone, to forget about the dirty looks, and to never let them take the light behind our eyes. So if you’re a killjoy or you’ve never even heard “Famous Last Words,” My Chemical Romance is back, and this time, (hopefully) here to stay.

This story was originally published on The Vision MSMS on February 6, 2020.