Don’t rest in peace

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

My Chemical RomanceThe Black ParadeReprise RecordsFour out of five stars

Looking back, I can pinpoint some of the memorable moments during the dozen or so parades I attended as a child.

I remember the amateur marching bands, the flag corps (or the color guard, whichever you prefer) and the way I would do anything to catch an insignificant piece of candy tossed from one of the overly decorated floats.

I’m guessing Gerard Way, lead singer for My Chemical Romance, had similar experiences–except when he was a child, he probably saw the entire marching band trample the flag corps to death. And then he probably got food poisoning from the candy he caught. Then he probably laughed maniacally and ran off into some dark forest.

On My Chemical Romance’s third studio album, The Black Parade, Way’s considerations of death are introduced, thrown around and beaten so badly that they ultimately die again–an inventive move, no doubt. On the track “Dead!” Way asks, “Have you heard the news that you’re dead?/ No one ever had much nice to say/ I think they never liked you anyway.”

This continual obsession with death has the potential to get boring, but somehow, the New Jersey band executes its music poignantly, with great intensity and a strong political message. The album is populated by moments of sheer beauty, which are followed by agitated movements of pointed intention. The track “Mama,” about a soldier who wants nothing more than to rid the world of his own mother because she bore a son and not a daughter, delivers one such exchange. Toward the end of “Mama,” Liza Minnelli makes a brief cameo, singing her old-fashioned heart out for a grand total of two lines. But, when the sweet-sounding solo is over, Way is right there, belting angrily back at her.

When he can’t yell anymore, though, Way and his bandmates call into being a note, a phrase, a moment so unlike anything else–so sweet and catchy–that it makes the entire experience worth it. In this duality of emotion, My Chemical Romance finds its perfect pitch.