A less evolved and intense version of rock anthem 'Welcome To The Black Parade' which proves to be just as worthy of your ears as its successor.
It doesn’t feel like over three years ago since the infamous break-up of My Chemical Romance, the source of so much of my adolescent heartache, struck the world, breaking a million emo hearts with just a brief four line message. No immediate explanation, no real condolence: nothing but “it has come time for it to end,” leaving their upcoming anticipated fifth studio album stranded and thrown aside.
To once again pull the heartstrings of those emo kids from years back – whether intentionally or unintentionally – the band’s release of a short teaser video showing a flag slowly rippling back and forth with the letters MCRX written on over a solemn version of the piano intro to ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ sparked rumours of a reunion to accompany The Black Parade’s tenth anniversary. Alas, this is not a perfect world: instead of reuniting, the band is issuing a re-release one month before that mark and releasing a new single to accompany the news. Unfortunately, ‘The Five of Us Are Dying’ is new to neither us nor them, being a previously unheard rough version of ‘Welcome To The Black Parade,’ the song that soundtracked every grunge kid’s adolescence. Boy, it’s a throwback.
Starting out with that sombre piano intro, it lacks the bold opening notes but retains that quiet, bittersweet familiarity of its most recognised form as Gerard Way’s vocals venture in. They are harsh and scratchy in the air, holding onto the more pronounced howls that became a defining emblem of The Black Parade’s predecessor, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. In fact, the whole song owes more to that era than The Black Parade, all the way from the gritty vocals to the crashing, open hi-hats of the drums, creating a looser, more guttural, and even more rugged feel to clash with the tight, anthemic sheen of ‘Welcome To The Black Parade.’
The song even manages to sound relatively bouncy in parts, resisting the crescendos which blaze through the album version and instead opting for a rougher, edgier chorus. “The time we had is really not so bad,” it dives into, somewhat perkier than the famous “We’ll carry on, we’ll carry on / Though you’re dead and gone believe me.” Somehow it pales in comparison to what it became, although, to be fair, what rock anthem doesn’t?
With a pretty phenomenal head-bang worthy guitar solo, the song ends on a high with the final chorus accelerating into a sharp, roaring anthem which manages to retain both its determination and optimism, perhaps indicating the anticipated feel of Danger Days.
Thus, My Chemical Romance goes out for the third time with a bang and some lovely chords. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and ‘The Five Of Us Are Dying’ can be forever heralded as a marker for that, bringing back the fire and fight that being a teenager can force upon you. But please, My Chemical Romance, can you just stop bringing back the emo kid inside of me? It’s super tiring and super embarrassing to tear up to ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ in public at nineteen years old. Trust me.
‘The Five Of Us Are Dying’ is out now via Reprise Records