Where To Start With… My Chemical Romance
In early 2013, My Chemical Romance shocked everybody when they announced that they were parting ways. To fans and journalists alike this seemingly came out of nowhere, they'd just completed a successful world tour, which included headlining Reading Festival and had talked up returning to the studio to record album number five. Then, on March 22nd 2013, they announced to the world that the band was no more, leaving legions of loyal fans devastated.
Now firmly defunct, the band's career is being capped with the release of a Greatest Hits compilation May Death Never Stop You. Released on Monday (March 24th), it contains 19 tracks, including all the band's biggest singles and there's also a special edition with a music video and bonus footage.
To celebrate the legacy of this remarkable band, we've prepared a handy little guide to their back catalogue for you…
The Early Days…
'Honey, This Mirror Isn't Big Enough for the Two of Us'
Taken from their debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, this scratchy, gnarly suckerpunch hinted at the majesty and ambition that was to follow in later years. Released in 2002, it sits squarely alongside the emo anthems that the likes of Taking Back Sunday and Finch were filling the airwaves with.
First Flourish Of Success
'I'm Not Okay (I Promise)'
Stolen away from Eyeball Records to major label Reprise, this trailblazing anthem set the tone for the ambitious, bravado-packed, arms aloft, songs that the band would make their own. Earnest to the point of parody but with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek and a chorus that was so damn hummable, it became a radio hit and an instant fan favourite.
It was the first single from second album Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, which went on to sell over one million copies worldwide and put the band firmly on the map.
'Welcome To The Black Parade'
After your second album sells over one million copies and takes you around the world on a series of bigger and bigger tours, most bands would be looking to bottle that formula and use it time and time again, but My Chemical Romance are not most bands.
When they return at the tail end of 2006, it was as The Black Parade, five men clad in black marching band uniforms, complete with their own rock opera centring around the character of "The Patient". This was the first shot across the bow; it's a sprawling track, complete with a gentle piano intro, galloping guitars and huge, skyscraper-scaling chorus. It can unite any dancefloor, close any club night with aplomb and when it kicks in for a second time, it's a still a real lump in the throat moment.
The album, called The Black Parade, went on to take the bands into arenas all over the planet and sold over three million copies. Not bad for five weirdoes from New Jersey.
Day-Glo Pop Rock
'Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)'
They'd spent the previous two years singing nightly about death and the afterlife, clad entirely in black, so it was no surprise that for their fourth album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys in 2010 they added a dash of colour to proceedings.
Back with pop rock buzzsaw guitar, this shout-along anthem is an octane-filled shot in the arm and kicks off the album in style. It's the catchiest, poppiest thing they did and it stills sounds absolutely glorious.
The Ultimate Anthem
If you want a perfect summation of everything that was/is/hopefully one day will be again brilliant about My Chemical Romance, it's in the two minutes and forty two seconds of 'Teenagers'.
Built round a grinding, supremely hummable riff with frontman Gerard Way acting as part emo cabaret singer, part demented preacher, it eventually builds to a chorus that you won't be able to get out of your head for weeks on end.
Lyrically, it’s the perfect distillation of why My Chemical Romance became so adored by so many people, particularly younger fans, they actually made it clear that they were on the fans side, trailblazers and beacons for alienated kids the world over, that's never more on display than in this track.
Mostly, though, it's just a damn good rock song. My Chemical Romance have loads more of them too.
My Chemical Romance's new 'Greatest Hits' compilation May Death Never Stop You is out on Monday (March 24th) and you can check out the rest of their back catalogue here.