Celebrating 10 years of The Black Parade.
October 23rd 2006. Converse were the best selling shoes in the UK and stripy knee high sock sales were at an all time high. Guyliner and black painted nails were an acceptable combo and most teenagers wouldn’t be seen dead in Jack Jones or Hollister outfits. Mobile phones were still getting smaller and 4G was something only aeroplanes could reach when they went really fast. Oh, and one of the most genre defining albums of this millennium was released.
My Chemical Romance were already on their way to stardom thanks to the success of their second studio album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Songs like I’m Not Okay, Helena and The Ghost of You made them an instant hit with the growing ’emo’ sub-culture in the UK. Arguably, they defined the term ’emo’ for a generation of people.
Two years later the album that defined the band, and probably the sub-culture, was released; The Black Parade. Every now and then a band releases an album that simply doesn’t fit with anything else they’ve ever done. It marks an evolution of style, and in this case, the new found maturity of a band. Sure, the guyliner was still prominent and MCR certainly knew their target audience, but gone were the quirky music videos and semi-serious approach. Hair was shortened, outfits were uniformed and things got serious; well, kind of. The album is essentially a pastiche of the 70’s rock music scene, even down to the outfits worn throughout the tour. It’s a concept album, a so called ‘rock opera’ of the type usually reserved for prog-rockers with unpronounceable band names. But it tapped in to the psyche of millions of people around the world, almost instantly propelling MCR to superstardom.
It was MCR’s live performances that really drew the plaudits. They played an incredible 138 shows in a world tour of the album from Feb 22nd 2007 to May 9th 2008. Featuring the likes of Rise Against, Thursday and Muse as support acts. Yep, I said Muse. Muse supported My Chemical Romance. If you didn’t quite realise how successful they were back then, that should drive it home.
So, it’s no surprise that we’ve been treated to a 10th anniversary edition to commemorate the album. It’s 51 minutes of pure teen nostalgia. Tracks like Welcome to the Black Parade and Teenagers sound as good as they ever have, but it’s when you listen to the album in full that you begin to really appreciate it as a piece of work.
The re-release comes with Living With Ghosts; a separate CD including 11 demos and outtakes from the original recording sessions. It’s all previously unreleased content, so if you’re a hardcore fan it’s definitely worth picking up. If you are going to buy it, I’d recommend getting the hard copy. The sleeve harks back to the days when people actually bought CD’s. It’s well put together, nice to look at and comes complete with an old classic: the lyric booklet.
It’s no secret that MCR never quite reached the heights of this album with their later releases. But when an album is this important and anthemic, who cares?