Oh Baby Here Comes the Sound
One of the most frequent comments on YouTube (apart from ‘OH MY GEE HE IS SO FIT <3’) is ‘What happened to MCR?’ ‘Where did old MCR go?’ ‘I miss old MCR. They should go back to their van days, they were so much better!’ Answers:
- MCR, because they are a
goodgreat band, has done what all great bands do and evolved. This is for two reasons. The first is that the guys aren’t the same people they were ten years ago. Duh. Were you the same person you are today ten years ago? No, I thought not. They have grown up and changed, like the rest of us; their sound is a natural progression of this. The second reason they evolved is that they are intelligent musicians. They know that if they had released The Black Parade Part 2, they wouldn’t still be around. Same as if they’d released Three Cheers for Whatever the Hell You Want to Put Here five years ago. Survival of the fittest and all that… In order to stay alive, you have to be able to adapt. However, unlike bands that give themselves such extravagant makeovers they aren’t recognisable at the end of it, My Chem are. Musically, anyway.
- ‘Old MCR’, my friend, is the same as ‘new MCR’. Because it’s all MCR. I doubt the band goes, “Let’s play old MCR tonight!” and start rehearsing Honey. They’ve simply changed with age (see above). Not convinced? Well, look at a song like The Kids From Yesterday. It’s always reminded me of Vampires Will Never Hurt You. Maybe it’s because they’re the songs that ended both the shows I went to; but I draw parallels in my head. Same with DESTROYA, Prison and Mama. Like I said the other day; they are perfect live songs. I want to hear Prison and DESTROYA back to back… The roof would come down. Our Lady of Sorrows reminds me of Vampire Money. The grit, the anger, the hilarity yet sincerity of the lyrics. Both songs bang their points home while you’re dancing like a mad person. They were recorded eight years apart. My Chemical Romance has always been, and will always be My Chemical Romance. The fundamentals are still there… We’re still getting shit for listening, so they must be.
3. You want them to go back to their van days? You mean when Frank and Gerard make out onstage covered in makeup and shit and God-knows what else? Or when they were depressed and drug addicts and homeless, never seeing their loved ones? Or do you mean the insanity of the live shows, the determination of the music to blow a hole in your brain? If you mean the first two, you’re an idiot and you should be ashamed of yourself. Band = married. Happily. Band also = has a family. Who they want to see grow up and live and stuff (mundane, I know). For any of you thinking the live shows aren’t mental, you haven’t seen one. I wasn’t on Warped ’05 or anything, so I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure My Chem’s as ferocious onstage now as they were nine years ago. They’re just more likely to remember it the next day.
All the fans that bitch and moan aren’t fans, when you think of it like that… My Chem make music. If you don’t like it, don’t call yourself a fan. If you love the guys as much as you claim to, be happy for them. Summertime wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago. Nor would Teenagers, possibly, or Cancer or SING or Planetary, in a ‘songs that are the result of life’ way. I could go on.
“Well lucky for you we’re still pretty.”
When I first saw Helena I didn’t believe it was the same lineup as on Parade, simply because at first glance the entire band’s had one of those Extreme Makeover deals. But, again, did you have the same haircut or wardrobe you had a decade ago? Nope. My Chem are probably as famous – or infamous – to the casual listener for their ever-changing visual as they are their music. When Gerard started press for The Album That Never Was, I was secretly a bit bummed, because he looked exactly the same as he had two years previously. Then I saw Art is the Weapon (the sound didn’t work on my nan’s computer so I took special notice of the ‘look’). My first thought was ‘they’re back’. In a lot of ways, I wasn’t surprised Mikey was blonde or Gerard looked like someone had dipped him in ketchup. I wasn’t surprised at the sunlight or roller skates… Because it was utterly different to anything else they’d ever done. Which was reassuring – they were here to stay for a couple of years – and exciting – ooh look, a Mexican standoff.
Whatever My Chem does is different from what they did before. Everything new makes everything old redundant. That’s not to say you can’t listen to, appreciate or rock out to it… It just means you can appreciate it a little bit more, knowing each album, each era, was a snapshot of the band at the time – and yourself at the time. Enjoy the current ‘thing’ while it lasts, be excited for the next one. It’ll be even better than what’s happening now. The band’s unpredictability is one of their best traits. We’re never bored, are we?!
MCR are up for ‘Best Live Stage’ and ‘Best Alternative’ artist at this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards. Vote here, because – if nothing else – their transformations deserve it.