As the popularity of rock and roll music subsided by the 2000s, the punk faithful became skeptical about commercialization of music. Then Emotional Hardcore, or Emocore, brought a new sensation to the music industry with its candid expression of feelings. Amid this trend, My Chemical Romance (MCR) was one of the most iconic bands that led the era of Emocore. Having said in an interview that Emocore is garbage, MCR cannot be classified as Emocore. However, their music is regarded as Emocore in that listener can truly understand their views on music through the emotions and messages MCR conveys in the music.
▲ My Chemical Romance, Provided by Medium
Extolled as one of the up-and-coming artists of the 21st century, MCR is an American rock band who gained great popularity in the early 2000s. “Skylines and Turnstiles” (2001) is the first song that the band ever wrote and it is a song in memory of the 9.11 attack. Before the band was formed, Gerard Way—the lead vocalist and the leader of MCR—was an intern for a cartoon company and September 11, 2001 was the day that influenced an amateur cartoonist’s life to the extent that he decided to start a band. After seeing the whole nation saddened by news of the terrorist attack, the young artist decided to make music of consolation and hope.
Way realized he needed to get away from the world inside the frame of cartoon and look at the real world outside. “You are not in this alone.” From the very first line of the song, people can recognize that MCR is the type of band that wants to bring people comfort. In many interviews, Way said that music worked as an effective outlet to deal with his own depression too. Among his songs, “Helena” (2004) was written to honor the death of his grandmother. While he used music as a way to overcome personal embitterment, Way developed his musicality to help others relieve pain. Such attempts to give people comfort and courage continued and their third release became a massive hit, making MCR and their songs beloved around the world.
▲ The Black Parade Album Cover, Provided by iTunes
After releasing the third album in 2006, the popularity of MCR began to soar. The title track “Welcome to the Black Parade” (2006) gained favorable reviews for the message the song delivers. The band came up with a storyline about a cancer-afflicted man who dies and then revisits the events of his life—the parade he saw as a child, the war he fought and the love he had. Despite the song’s dark and tenebrous background, it delivers words of consolation. Death is a parade, nothing to be afraid of, and it will always march on. Meanwhile, some people say that the song was made to console the victims of the terror in that it was released on September 11. Whatever it may be, the song truly connects with everyone’s desire for hope and MCR manages to unite people with sadness.
After releasing their final album, MCR officially disbanded in 2013 but their music still lingers. The band wrote songs about death and sorrow but, behind such dismalness, there is a sense of uplift. MCR makes people love their music with its beautiful yet tragic examination of life and mortality. In that sense, the music of MCR is sometimes appraised as a philosophical work of art that initiates reflections on how to deal with the emotions of human beings, especially the feeling of pain. Although new releases cannot be expected from them, their sublime spirit toward life will continue to warm audiences’ hearts.