The 2000’s were filled with some pretty great things. Chunky highlights, flip phones, flare jeans and best of all, lots of pop punk. Back then, guitar driven, angst filled tunes dominated the music scene. Some of it was great while some of it was downright awful. But, through it all, there’s probably one punk band from this era that withstood the test of time. Even though they’ve been broken up for some time now, they are still highly notable and extremely talked about.
That band is My Chemical Romance.
Before we really get into it, let’s take a trip down memory lane. MCR consisted of vocalist Gerard Way, bassist Mikey Way, lead guitarist Ray Toro, rhythm guitarist Frank Iero and drummer Bob Bryer. My Chemical Romance is possibly best known for their 2006 album, The Black Parade, and the single of the same name, however, they were initially established soon after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Their punchy debut, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, was released in mid 2002 and helped the band earn an underground following. Soon after, with their sophomore release in 2004, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, the band broke into the mainstream with singles such as “Helena” and “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”. Then came The Black Parade, with that iconic piano G note on “Welcome To The Black Parade” and other striking tracks such as “Teenagers”, “I Don’t Love You” and “Famous Last Words”. That album in particular was a concept album about a solider going off to war, his death and thoughts in the afterlife. Dismal themes like that often dominated their discography but never got to the point where the listener would feel unease. My Chemical Romance was somber but genuine, with compelling lyrics and storylines that linger in your mind for days. Topped off with pop inspired hooks and killer guitar solos, it’s no wonder they became of of the most easily recognized bands in the world.
However, only three years after their fourth studio album Danger Days was released, the band announced their breakup. It was March 22 of 2013, to be exact. It seemed so sudden but the band stressed that internal conflict was not the cause for the split. All of the members went on to release solo projects, start other bands, or work with other artists. Years later, there seems to be no My Chem reunion in sight with all of the members being preoccupied with other projects. And while that’s a huge bummer, I truly believe that it’s for the best and I hope a reunion doesn’t happen.
Now when I say a “reunion” I don’t necessarily mean that I hope they never perform again. A legitimate farewell tour would be really cool especially considering how unexpected their breakup was. Or even getting back together for a few festivals or something similar would be fine. What I mean is that I hope no more studio albums are released under the My Chemical Romance name. There are many reasons for this but the first one that sticks out to me is that they would undoubtedly not sound like 2006’s pop punk and the fan outrage would be immense. If we’re being real here, everyone would compare them to “pre-split” My Chemical Romance and I don’t think that comparison would ever stop. It’s a pretty common thing to see ridiculous fan opinions on “pre” and “post” split/hiatus/major event in band members lives, and most of the time it really isn’t positive, from what I’ve seen. I think that mostly has to do with the nostalgia factor of the music and the thing I would be most bothered by is seeing “fans” who rip apart the band for not sounding the same. To go along with that detail, the band was formed at the perfect point in time where their sound fit with popular music. Today’s music scene is mostly hip hop and rap influenced, and I also wonder how MCR would fit among other bands that started in the same genre and era that they did. It’s not even that I can’t imagine them delving into other genres or experimenting with a different sound but it just goes back to the fact that they fit the pop punk category so well that I don’t think many fans or critics can separate the two. This causes concern again for how a new sound would be accepted. As great of a band as they were, it would be a shame to release music just to do so, which would tarnish their reputation in the long run. Obviously, they would want to release something their fans would like without being repetitive but that’s almost impossible to gauge at this point. If the band were to reunite at this point in time, things just wouldn’t be the same; in my opinion, as much as I love this band, they’ve served their purpose and I just can’t imagine them going any further with it.
Besides the fact that literally nobody can guess what a new MCR record would sound like, all of the previous members seem very busy and content with the other things they’re working on. Gerard Way is writing comics and his Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, Frank Iero has a plethora of other bands, Mikey Way has a family and Ray Toro released a solo album a few years back. They all seem very preoccupied and genuinely happy with the things they’re working on right now. To create a worthwhile MCR record, all of them would possibly have to put these projects on hold to be able to write new music, record it, tour and everything that ensues. I just can’t imagine them doing that right now nor do I want them to do that. They’re all so versatile in their own personal projects and it’s really cool to see them expand into other territory and see what they can achieve on their own.
The fact that My Chemical Romance has been broken up for over half a decade now and still continue to inspire not only the 2000’s generation but even this newer generation just goes to show how important and influential they really were and still are. This band was more than just a couple dudes wearing dark clothes, makeup and screaming into microphones. They stood for something so much bigger. And even though they may never release another My Chem record ever again, just the fact that we’re still able to enjoy something this spectacular is special in itself. MCR was formed to serve a purpose and all I can say is, it’s a job well done. Now, on to the next venture.