Back in The Black Parade

Lilianne Harris, Beat Editor

When My Chemical Romance disbanded in 2013, some said that emo rock had fallen from into irrelevancy. Now that the band has announced their return, I believe it fair to look back at their magnum opus and see whether or not it holds up today.
Released in 2006, The Black Parade is a rock opera following the last few weeks of someone’s life as they reflect on their life and accept their incoming death. While some tracks take this idea of death and look at it through a somber lens, tracks such as the aptly named “Dead!” seem to enjoy the idea.
Though it is hard to dislike any particular song on the album, there are oddities in the order in which they’re placed. Multiple songs seem to cover the narrator’s death, yet they are placed throughout the album, leading to some confusion in what should otherwise be a fairly straightforward narrative.
Another issue in terms of tracks appears with the song “Teenagers.” Though this is my favorite track off the album by far, being a fun and simple tune, it has nothing to do with the concepts that the album is otherwise about. There aren’t any connections between teenagers scaring Gerard Way, the vocalist for My Chemical Romance, and teenagers scaring the narrator of The Black Parade.
These issues with maintaining a core concept aren’t a huge problem, however, as the album doesn’t need to be looked at as a rock opera for it to hold up.
When it was released, fans of the band derided the album by comparing it to a Queen rip-off. However, certain songs on the album—namely “Welcome to the Black Parade” and “Mama”—are theatrical and genre-bending while still acting cohesive, similarly to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Innuendo”, and the songs are just as iconic and well-written as Queen’s hits.
While fans in 2006 insulted the album by calling it not emo enough, it is more of an insult to call the album emo at all. In fact, it is more fair to say that The Black Parade is one of the best rock albums of the 2000’s.