A little more than a year ago alternative rockers My Chemical Romance called it quits right around the time they were to start recording LP number five. All the guys went their separate ways and were to begin work on their own solo careers. For those of you who know me you all know that back in the day I was a huge MCR fan and by huge I mean huge, it was a little crazy how huge of a fan I was. We had a falling out and then I gave their last LP another listen to and it was like riding a bicycle. Ever since they are back and forth in my rotation of music in the car.
Now I digress. Frank Iero recently put out his full length debut record and while I was not a huge fan of the sound itself I applaud him for doing his thing. Gerard Way just released his debut Hesitant Alien and that one blew my mind. No word on Mikey Way’s Electric Century or Ray Toro’s solo records but they are on the way. I decided to compile a list of the best My Chemical Romance songs from all four of their LPs. Now while this list may be a little odd since they only have a handful of LPs it’s still a solid list of tracks that the band has put together over the years. Enjoy.
12. Skylines and Turnstiles from I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love
This was the very first song the group wrote. Back in the early days Gerard worked in New York City working for a comic company or a cartoon network. The song though if I recall properly is about the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The hard fast paced guitars and quick drumming with heavy screaming vocals from Gerard mix together to give us a sound that is more reminiscent of say Thursday than My Chem. The dark outlook lyrically fits the mold from what the source material of the song. Take a good look at the lyrics and give it a good listen to and you will see and hear it.
Choice Lyric: And in this moment we can’t close the lids on burning eyes
Our memories blanket us with friends we know like fallout vapors
Steel corpses stretch out towards an ending sun, scorched and black
It reaches in and tears your flesh apart
As ice cold hands rip into your heart
That’s if you’ve still got one that’s left inside that cave you call a chest
And after seeing what we saw, can we still reclaim our innocence
And if the world needs something better, let’s give them one more reason now
11. Teenagers from The Black Parade
“Teenagers” is a totally different sound from the band altogether. It is more or less a hardcore punk rock song that is from the early punk times. Way’s opening vocals and the guitars feel more like an early rock and roll song. Add in the snaring drums and the rattling sound we get before the heavy catchy chorus and we get a song that doesn’t even fit in the collection of songs that they put out. While the song was not one of my favorites it grew on me and with an interesting message overall we get a rather unique sound, yes Gerard the modern generation is very scary.
Choice Lyric: he boys and girls in the clique
The awful names that they stick
You’re never gonna fit in much, kid
But if you’re troubled and hurt
What you got under your shirt
Will make them pay for the things that they did
10. Disenchanted from The Black Parade
A nice acoustic opening mixing in with Gerard’s heartfelt vocals get a nice boost from Byar’s drumming and Mikey’s bass. The backing vocals once again are brought to you by Ray Toro and the song is a nice seque into the end of the album. It is one of those heartfelt tracks that almost everyone can relate to. We rarely get to see this side of the band, a lighter (even if it is kind of heavy) song that you would see a lot of people waving lighters around in the crowd. The chorus is still one that will stick with you, another well written track. I feel that Gerard and co don’t get enough credit as a songwriting group with so many stellar songs.
Choice Lyric: You’re just a sad song with nothing to say
About a life long wait for a hospital stay
And if you think that I’m wrong,
This never meant nothing to ya
9. I Never Told You What To Do For a Living from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
Three Cheers featured a more gothic punk rock sound than the underground hardcore sound from their debut. The gutteral vocals mixed in with the bleak lyrics and the heavier guitars brought on by both Iero and Toro solidify a solid second record. The fast paced track slows down near the end in which we get a guitar and Way being front and center. This song sounds more akin to fellow alt rockers The Used than most of the stuff they have put out. Needless to say though My Chem does it better.
Choice Lyric. Well never again, and never again
They gave us two shots to the back of the head
And we’re all dead now.
8. The End/Dead! from The Black Parade
These two songs transition nicely into each other so I am lumping them as one. Let’s focus more so on “Dead!” It’s a nice punk rock laden song that has what we have come to expect from the band at least from Three Cheers. The chorus features backing vocals from Ray Toro and that is very subtle as Gerard features a very powerful vocal range. The blend of the guitars and even a brass section at one point sets it a part from a lot of the other songs on the record. I know at first listen these two were my personal favorites. Even when played live the song kicked a lot of ass. The pop laden influences though don’t really hurt either, it’s very “radio friendly” or at least as radio friendly as My Chem can be.
Choice Lyric: If life ain’t just a joke (LA LA LA LA LA!)
Then why are we laughing? (LA LA LA LA LA LA!)
If life ain’t just a joke (LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!)
Then why am I dead?
7. Helena from Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
Now I don’t want people to think that I am just picking singles, but “Helena” holds another personal moment in my life. The soft subtle opener opens up the record as well as the song and bursts into a full length intense punk rock sound. The song is a little bit of a departure from the story driven tracks we got on their debut but it still features a slight narrative. With a haunting music video and a catchy chorus the boys put out another solid song that will be remembered for years, actually it’s been almost ten years and the song is still good. The slow break down in the middle of the song where the vocals feel slightly modulated and the guitars change styles ever so slightly is a nice change that leads into the final chorus a burst of energy from the band.
Choice Lyric: Came a time
When every star fall brought you to tears again
We are the very hurt you sold
6. Demolition Lovers from I Brought You My Bullets, Your Brought Me Your Love
The closing track on the Jersey rockers debut record is another one that would be a slight allusion to what they would do. The opening bass line from Mikey which leads into an eeriely haunting vocal from Gerard turns into a full blown rock ballad. I Brought You My Bullets features some of the strongest songwriting the band has ever turned out and while that isn’t an insult to their later works it just works out this way. A Bonnie and Clyde esque story is written out in an epic that displays more of the range of Gerard’s vocals more so than anything else. The song reaches a crescendo that features Gerard’s wailing and the heavy guitars then it just slows down. A slower paced guitar with Gerard crying “all we are is bullets.” Once again bravo boys, bravo.
Choice Lyric: As lead rains, will pass on through our phantoms
Like scarecrows that fuel this flame we’re burning
Forever, and ever
Know how much I want to show you you’re the only one
Like a bed of roses there’s a dozen reasons in this gun
5. Bulletproof Heart from Danger Days
A totally different album than their previous efforts was Danger Days. And while it was still a concept album there was still a slew of songs that held their own. “Bulltproof Heart” features pulse pounding guitars and an incredible bass line. Gerard sells the song with his impressive vocals and once more another crazy catchy chorus that ends up stuck in your head for hours on end. As a whole this song fits in with the rest of the album, and while it sounds like My Chem took some sounds from the classic punk rockers The Ramones and the Sex Pistols on this record they mix it all in so well with the modern sounds that just make you scratch your head and say wait is this the same band that did “I’m Not Okay?”
Choice Lyric: So get me out of my head
Cause it’s getting kind of cramped you know
Coming ready or not
When the motor gets hot
We can do it again
4. Famous Last Words from The Black Parade
A blend of hard rock and classic rock fused together to make this hit, Once again My Chem delivers a song that “saves lives.” For a band that had no agenda they sure did a lot outside of just making music. The soaring guitar riffs from Iero and the steady drumming from Bryar mix in so well with Gerard’s powerful vocals. Throughout the years the band has mastered the art of putting not just a powerful message in a song but putting it in an insanely catchy chorus. The breakdown in the middle of the song is powerful and full of soaring guitars as Gerard screams out “these bright lights have always blinded me” lead into a powerful closing chorus. A great way to end a solid album.
Choice Lyric: I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey if you stay, I’ll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home
3. I’m Not Okay (I Promise) from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
The band’s first mainstream record featured a lead single so laden with catchy hooks and guitar riffs that it had to be something unique. In a time when the pop-punk/alternative rock scene was bursting with Green Day clones My Chem comes in with what would later become a genre defining single. The blend of Toro and Iero’s guitars mixed in with Mikey slapping the bass and Gerard’s wailing blend together to form a solid top hit. An anthem for the disillusioned youth that would bob their heads to it at their shows still holds true to this day. The fast paced track features a quick break down in the middle of the song where Gerard seemingly whispers a quick bridge into the chorus and while that might break up a lot of songs it helps add passion to the song.
Choice Lyric: Forget about the dirty looks
The photographs your boyfriend took
You said you read me like a book, but the pages all are torn and frayed
2. Welcome to the Black Parade from The Black Parade
The third album The Black Parade is either too well loved or not loved enough. With an album full of solid tracks the lead single stands out as the most impressive. Back in 2006 when I first heard the song on the MTV Music Awards show I was both excited and kind of scared. The opening piano mixed in with Gerard’s vocals and then the guitar solo all mixed together to give Queen a run for their money. The song writing itself on it’s own is impressive to say anything else. Gerard weaves a tale of a father passing on and telling his son he’ll march on with the dead. Another song from the band that came at a bleak time in my personal life. The message of the song, carry on no matter what is a poignant message from a band who has had a troubled past as well. The mixture of arena rock and the punk style that My Chem brings makes for a glorious sound that needs to be heard.
Choice Lyric: Give a cheer for all the broken
Listen here, because it’s who we are
I’m just a man, I’m not a hero
Just a boy, who had to sing this song
I’m just a man, I’m not a hero
1. Vampires Will Never Hurt You from I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love
Written before the Twilight phase kicked off “Vampires” delivers a pulse pounding narrative that features bleak and dark imagery. The soft drums opening up the track with the slow guitars lead to Gerard’s soft vocals. While this may seem a tad bit biased as this was the first My Chem song I ever heard I still say it’s their best. The soaring guitars mixed with a rough version of Gerard’s voice and a song with a narrative that has bleak imagery that carries throughout would later become staples of the band especially on The Black Parade.
Choice Lyric: And someone buy me roses, and someone burned the church
We’re hanging out with corpses, and driving in this hearse
And someone save my soul tonight, please save my soul