When I heard the news that My Chemical Romance had finally called it a day after 12 years, my initial reaction was to shrug. Having put a nail in their own coffin with the 2010 release of Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, a record that was okay but in no way 'them', I felt that this was an announcement that had been coming for a while.
This said, when I sat down and thought about it, on my train home for easter, the nostalgia began to kick in. Between the ages of 12 and 16, I adored this band. Gerard Way was my hero and dream husband during my angsty early teens and I still find some of his lyrics from the early days quite profound. My interest in their wordplay almost certainly had a hand in my early interest in music and decision to become a music journalist. Having hit notoriety with The Black Parade, the matching suits and the pomp-rock outrageousness, I felt they grew as entertainers but lost the intimacy that made me fall in love with them, the dark vampire imagery and playful subversion of death, adrogyny and goth culture that always seemed to make them a little more substantial than their contemporaries. I lusted over the opportunity to see them live, and although this day came a little later than planned, at Reading Festival 2011, I still felt the same 'this band understand me!' feeling that has propped up so many of their fans across the world, those who feel ostracised by society, many who have mental or physical disabilities, or even just those who have had a bad day and wanted someone to understand. My Chemical Romance were that band, and I'm sure for many, will always be that band. I doubt this will be the end of music making for any of them, but I suspect that they too are struggling to recognize the My Chemical Romance they have come to be, anime caricatures of rock music, in comparison to the shy, grungy rock they started out making.
Whatever the fuel behind their split, we can take solace in 4 (5, if you count Conventional Weapons, their 2012 offcut record) great albums, a selection of some of the finest music videos ever made and the knowledge that they helped undermine The Daily Mail and it's knowledge of social trends.
Rather than continue spilling my teen-girl heart, I thought I would instead let the music speak for itself. So here, for your listening pleasure, is my personal selection of what I believe to be the best and most important My Chemical Romance songs of their career.
- Early Sunsets Over Monroeville
- Honey This Mirror Isn't Big Enough For The Two Of Us
- Demolition Lovers
- Famous Last Words
- Planetary (Go)
- Desert Song
- Kill All Your Friends
- You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison
- I'm Not Okay
- Thankyou For The Venom
- Cemetery Drive
- The Ghost Of You
- The Black Parade