Archive for the ‘The black parade’ Category

I’m reviewing this like I would review a full album, but I’m keeping in mind the fact that it isn’t one. It’s a collection of demos and scrapped tracks from my all time favorite disc, “The Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, released for the tenth anniversary of the original as “Living With Ghosts”.

First off, that’s a nice title. A fitting one. Since the band is broken up(but I believe will rejoin again in 2019 and I do have an actual logical reason for assuming that), the songs on this disc make one feel that they are listening to echoes or specters of a band long gone. They also help us to see some of the creative process that went into the finished album from 06. Raw sound, voices of the band members heard speaking about the songs at the end of some of the tracks,  and a really rough, unfinished feel to it make this a disc well worth the money, but perhaps for diehard fans only. With the exception of four songs, nothing on the album is really new or spectacular. But it certainly is special.

“The Five of us are Dying” is an early version of “Welcome to the Black Parade”, written between “Bullets” and “Revenge”. The chorus isn’t nearly as powerful as it is on “Parade”, but the rest of this song is just as good as the finished track. The bridge/solo sounds even more like “Queen” than usual, and that’s awesome for those of us who love Brian May (and Ray Toro obviously – my favorite guitar player). 

“Kill All Your Friends(demo)” the second song on the album, really threw me off. It’s interesting, but it’s just bad compared to the polished version of the song released in 06. This is obviously a demo played long before the full song was fleshed out – but you can still feel it gestating into what it would eventually become. 

With “Party at the end of the World”, things start to get more interesting. Still raw, still a demo, but never heard before by any fan as it was never officially released until now. I bet I would have liked the “kill all your friends” demo better if I hadn’t ever heard the actual finished version. But “Party” has really nice guitar,a pretty cool chorus, and Gerard’s voice somehow seems more chaotic than usual. Not as good as usual, but hey, it’s still Gerard, so still great. 

I don’t have much to say about the “Mama” demo. It’s much closer to the finished version than the other demos are. Some lyrics and vocal melodies are different, but it’s pretty much the same instrumentally, except for the third section of the bridge. It stays quiet from “if you could write me a letter” all the way up to “we’re damned after all”, and it makes the song sound quite different from the version I’ve always loved. It’s fascinating hearing a track like this and getting a view into the innumerable decisions and changes a band has to make during its writing process. 

“My way home through you” is also pretty close to the finished version…and I love that song, so even though the vocals aren’t quite as good as the real version, I still love this one. 

“Not That Kinda Girl” is the first of the four songs on this disc that really stand out. One of the catchiest choruses I’ve ever heard, well written and hilarious lyrics (they obviously didn’t write the ones I’m about to cite, but here’s the funny part – “these boots are made for walking and that’s just what they’ll do” – I’m serious. Hearing part of that old song in a hard rock style is a real treat) such as “everybody’s talkin bout the way you cut your hair – I could give a fuck” make this one of the coolest MCR tracks I’ve ever heard. And the drums were eventually used for the song “Gun” on their “Conventional Weapons” album. Again, it’s awesome to know more about their writing process. 

“House of Wolves version 1” is incredibly somber, in the vein of “Cancer” or even the songs on “Revenge”. Other than actually having the words “House of wolves” in the song, I’m not really sure how this one has anything to do with the finished Black Parade version, but I’m probably overlooking the connection due to not being able to discern a lot of the lyrics. “Version 2” follows “version 1”, and it’s basically just a fun demo of the Black Parade version. 

“Emily” is just beautiful. I know it’s fictional and somehow originally fit into the Black Parade story arc, but I can’t help but think about my daughter when I hear it. I’m always paranoid for my family’s safety, and this kind of stuff really moves me. It has heart wrenching lyrics, passionate vocals, well played guitar, and a fantastic drumbeat. Seriously, Bob Bryar, bravo. 

The “Disenchanted” demo sounds completely different from the real version, and I feel the same way about it as I do the other demos. Good, special, but not spectacular like the end product. 

Finally, we come to “All the Angels”. For the first time ever, MCR reminds me of U2, in a very good way. With angels, Catholic imagery, and people dying in hospitals, this song would have fit nicely on the real Black Parade album. The narrative within the lyrics is just as powerful as was for me on the full album when I was a teenager. It might have sounded random, but I think it would have really paid off as a hidden track, perhaps right before “Blood”, or even before “Famous Last Words”. Would have given the CD a Pink Floyd impression, a la “The Wall”. MCR is usually so bombastic and nihilistic, but for this song, the simple things are what stand out. When Gerard sings “ooo-ooo-ooo”(no, not like a ghost or something lol it’s actually quite melodic), it literally gives me chills. 

So how do I rate the tenth anniversary demos? 8 out of 10. I would have given it 7 had it not been for the near perfection of “Not that kinda girl”, “Emily”, “House of Wolves version 1”, and “All the Angels”. And I actually probably would have given the cd a 9 or a 10 if I hadn’t ever heard the finished version of the demos released in 06 with the greatest rock concept record of all time. 

Buy this album, or at least listen to it on YouTube. It’s no Parade, but it certainly is a fitting tenth anniversary bonus disc. 

You can also read my Review for the full Black Parade album, which was one of the first posts I made on this blog. 

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