This is not a review. This is an obituary, as we mourn the passing of one of this generation's finest bands, My Chemical Romance, Or MCR if you prefer. My Chemical Romance, a band that are adored by many, and hated by just as many, but similarly one of the most underrated and underappreciated bands to ever step foot on a stage, but a band that also leaves behind one hell of a legacy as well.
I will also have a special place in my heart for My Chemical Romance, because to me they are a special band, like so many bands they have songs which have sat with me and helped me through difficult times, but uplifted me during the best of times. They are a band that helped strengthen a bond between me and my sister, which also lead to be me telling my boss to go to hell in a defiant act so I could go to one of their concerts. I watched My Chemical Romance go from playing to less than 150 people in the Wedgewood Rooms to headlining Download Festival in the space of 3 years. I'm sure everyone has their own My Chemical Romance stories, but those are just a couple of mine, and part of the reason why I love them so much.
It's also important to remember that they were the voice of today's youth, a band that stood up for the underdog, that defended both themselves and their fans, especially against a hateful campaign launched by the Daily Mail against 'Emo' music and their blindly misinformed perception of that particular scene. My Chemical Romance went above and beyond for their fans and as the spokesmen for those who felt downtrodden and voiceless. Every single thing they did as a band was fuelled by passion, for themselves and the art they were creating.
May Death Never Stop You, the newly released greatest hits package comes a year almost to the day that My Chemical Romance put a stake through the heart of their career and called it a day, and It looks to summarize 11 years’ worth of blood, sweat and venom into one 19 track release. It almost certainly succeeds more than it fails, but it isn't without its faults. I think the main problem with the album itself lies in the fact that it doesn't know who its appealing to, on the one hand all the diehard My Chemical Romance fans will already have all of the songs on here already, with the exception of 'Fake your Death' and the casual observer will probably buy this based on the strength that they know 'I'm not ok (I promise)'. It's always a weird thing doing a greatest hits package, especially with a band of this ilk, because they were the one of the biggest underdog bands during their time, yes they headlined festivals and had number one albums but for the most part they were still an underground band.
The other main problem with May Death Never Stop You is the track listing itself, yes it hits all the beats of the band's career and shows off their hits as it were, but it also misses some pretty well known songs, as well as some really great songs from the bands career as well, Tracks like 'Headfirst for Halo's' and their cover of 'Desolation Row' definitely should have made the cut, as well as some tracks from Conventional Weapons would have made for a more well-rounded album, but those are minor fanboy niggles.
The songs on display show a variety of different sides to My Chemical Romance, from the poison and vicious angst of the debut album material, 'Honey, this mirror isn't big enough for the both of us' and 'Vampires will never hurt you' to the Goth drenched pop delights of 'I’m not ok (I promise)' and 'Helena' filtered through the pomp and bombast of the Black Parade, and the Day Glo Mad Max era that was Danger Days, four distinct eras, from four exceptional, visionary artists.
The real meat here for fans is the inclusion of 'Fake your Death' which is the last song the band ever recorded together, which was intended for the ill-fated MCR5 album. It’s a good song, if a little sentimental and weird to listen to in the aftermath of their break up, it shows once again that they weren't a one trick pony, but also gives us a parting shot that is more of a whimper than a bang.
My Chemical Romance are and always were a band that lived and died on their own terms and even when they got sucked into the corporate machine, they never faltered and they always remained true to who they were and also did right by themselves and their fans.
Time will be kind to My Chemical Romance and with any luck they will go down in history as the important band that they are, a band that came along at the right time, kicked the doors and changed the game forever. In 11 years they released 4 studio albums, a fifth unofficial album, toured the world countless times and changed millions of lives, they died as they lived, with their heads held high and with the world at their feet.
There is only one thing left to say and that is....
Thank you for the Venom