welcome folks! apologies for the delay in the review, i had a pretty busy weekend that ate a lot of my listening time, and with our next record being My Chemical Romance’s biggest hit, i definitely didn’t want to rush my thoughts. this week, we’re checking out The Black Parade, released in 2006 – a concept record about a patient in a hospital moving into the afterlife. i’ve been a little critical about pop-punk concept records, so let’s check in and see how it goes!

The End. is an ironic opening track, and a very fitting intro to the tonal vibes of the record. very much a “narrator bringing the audience into the narrative” vibes on this track. i read they wanted to emulate Pink Floyd here, and i do kinda get that with those wall of guitar vibes in the second half of this track. the smooth transition into Dead! is very good, reinforcing that kinda intro to the narrative, as this track dwells a bit more on the actual “story” of the record. this track kicks ass. bombastic, varied, and catchy, i dig this one a lot. This Is How I Disappear is an interesting dwelling on relationships being a way of “extending” your life through memory – the chorus on this track is phenomenal, big fan. The Sharpest Lives discusses addiction and substance abuse, and the comparison to The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You from the last record feels pretty apparent, haha. The Sharpest Lives feels a bit more well integrated into the record here – it matches the energy brought by the tracks around it, and it’s fittingly a ton of dark fun, haha. Welcome to the Black Parade is the like, heart of this record. the intro was inescapable, and it’s extremely moving ngl, even after all that exposure. i had never heard the rest of the track, so i wasn’t really sure what to expect from the rest of it, and it’s a good track! i go back and forth on it, but that intro really is the strongest bit of the track for sure. I Don’t Love You is a p good ballad, but not really my thing. House of Wolves has a phenomenal swing-y kinda vibe, especially in the verses, and hot damn this track rocks. big fan. Cancer tells us what brings out protagonist to this point of reflection. Way does some real good work over the piano-forward track here too. Mama’s got some really interesting segments to it for sure, haha. the little Liza Minelli in the bridge was real neat too, v fitting given the kinda stage-vaudeville vibes to the track, haha. Sleep’s a neat track. very nice as a kind of swell as we approach the end of the record. Teenagers is my fave, even if it has the most tenuous connection to the concept of the record. Disenchanted is a pretty sudden drop in tempo and energy, but feels good as a reset before our finale. Famous Last Words is the closing track, and yeah it’s a really effective closer. really fun guitar work, very nice capstone. Blood’s a bonus track, and i appreciate that they kept the silence on the digital version of the track. fun bonus track, very fitting!

faves – Dead!, This Is How I Disappear, The Sharpest Lives, House of Wolves, Teenagers
dislikes –

i’ll speak to the concept record thing i mentioned in the intro first: this gets an “okay” on that front. no clear narrative through line, but given that the record is more a series of reflections at the end of a life rather than a series of events, i think the loose structure works pretty well and the few connective threads to a decent enough job. not quite what i want, but at least i’m not out here wondering where the concept is in the tracks themselves, haha.

other than that, this record really grew on me. i was ready to pick a few tracks and move on after the first few listens, but sitting with it a bit more caused many of these tracks to kinda blossom for me, which was a neat experience. the explorations of regret, fear, legacy, and hope are all really well conveyed lyrically and musically, and the performances from the band are absolutely stellar. they’ve got some of their boppiest bops here too, which doesn’t hurt at all in my book (Dead! and Teenagers are the standouts on that front, def don’t miss those if you haven’t heard em). fun fact that i only discovered after the fact: Rob Cavallo appears in a discog review once again! he produced this record, and will produce the next MCR record as well.

all in all, def their best so far, and i’m p satisfied on the hype to quality ratio here.

The Black Parade – 8/10

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