By Keith Pereña
It was a couple of years ago, after my high school Christmas party, when I rushed to a local record store to buy My Chemical Romance’s album The Black Parade. It cost six months’ worth of lunch money, which I clutched in my left as the cashier handed me the black, skull-adorned CD with my right. Getting that hallowed piece of the emo rock movement made me feel like one of the cool kids in school and rightfully so because years later, The Black Parade became known as the band’s seminal album — the one that cemented their fame in the annals of emo rock history.
I was reminded of that moment as I read a BBC report that said that the band is coming back together. The story — aptly dated November 1 — said that My Chemical Romance will be playing a comeback show this December 20 in Los Angeles. The concert marks the first time in six years that the original lineup of Gerard and Mikey Way, Ray Toro and Frank Iero are coming together. The only person missing is Bob Bryar, the band’s original drummer.
Reading the words of the report made me want to break out my skinny jeans, black tees and eyeliner from my ‘emo closet’. What is an emo? It’s a subculture defined by wearing your heart on your sleeve. The term itself is shorthand for ‘emotional’. Emos usually wear dark colours, wear eyeliner regardless of gender and listen to rock from that era. Bands that were a common sight among emo playlists were the All-American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy and Paramore, to name a few.
My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade is a definitive piece of emo rock. The entire album follows the story of a character known as The Patient. The album begins with him on his deathbed and his reflections towards his impending doom due to cancer. The lyrical crux of the album — Welcome to The Black Parade — is a celebration of our lead character and it sends a message that even if a person dies, his memory will carry on in the hearts and minds of his loved ones. According to music essayist Polyphonic, the song can be considered as the emo generation’s version of Bohemian Rhapsody as it has the same effect when played to the right age group. The music video also ups the Queen influence as the band dons their iconic band uniforms and parade around a destroyed town celebrating the death of the Patient. It was a great way to introduce musical theatre to an angsty teen in Manila.
It was as the dark marching band, a twisted Charon, that is the band reached iconic status. The dark and moody hues was something that they continued to use well after their next album Danger Days. The tweet announcing their reunion was anything but less showing a foreboding statue with two hands trying to reach for each other — all in a black background of course.
Suffice to say I am ecstatic that the band is coming back together. My only hope is that they dust off their band uniforms and belt out the anthem that defined a subculture. For my part, I’m definitely looking for that CD which I bought with six months’ worth of lunch money and cranking the volume up. The marching band of doom are back my brethren.
Keith was an emo kid — nobody understood him back then.