My Chemical Romance

MCRBack in middle school, “scene” genre was considered part of mainstream popular music. Oh the nostalgia when rock music was played on the Top 40 radio. It saddens me I didn’t begin to explore the “scene” genre until 2008. At this point, this genre’s popularity was slowly waning within mainstream music. Rock was beginning to become a niche music genre again.

My Chemical Romance released their third studio album, The Black Parade, back in October 2006. The Black Parade is essentially a rock opera album. I was well-aware of this band’s popularity among my fellow school peers. Yet, I wasn’t willing to give this band a chance. It wasn’t the right time in my life.

My love for rock genre music has exponentially grown since 2006. Of course I only discovered some “scene” artists several years later. In certain circumstances, time better allows you to embrace something with a more open-mind perspective. I can now approach certain pop-punk artists from the mid-2000s I had previously refused to listen to. My Chemical Romance definitely falls into this category.

One of my college friends is a huge fan of My Chemical Romance. She had often recommended this band to me. She swore they fit well within my rock genre musical taste. But I was still very hesitant.

So what exactly convinced me to listen to My Chemical Romance’s music? In short, my obsession with Andy Black’s solo album, The Shadow Side, played a key role. On Andy Black’s solo album, the co-founders of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way and Mikey Way, contributed to the track “Louder Than Your Love”. Gerard co-wrote the song lyrics. Mikey played bass guitar parts for the song. Somehow, this finally convinced to listen to My Chemical Romance. I cannot even tell you the reason why for this sudden, impromptu decision. Only took me ten years before I was willing to give this band’s music a chance. It is strange how some things work out.

I listen to my fair share of rock bands. Generally, I’ve gotten used to tenor vocal ranges when it comes to lead vocalists. Yet, I can still differentiate the various tenor vocals among the lead singers of my bias bands. Of course, some lead vocalists have unique singing vocals. Black Veil Bride’s Andy Biersack and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way falls into this category. Andy Biersack has a beautifully deep raspy baritone vocal tone. Gerard Way has an intriguing sing-screaming tenor vocal tone. Both are definitely acquired tastes and not everyone’s cup of tea.

Almost two weeks ago, I began my journey to discover My Chemical Romance’s music on Spotify. They have an extensive selection of their full studio albums, live albums, and EP albums. Best of all, they have all the uncensored versions of their songs. Censorship of profanity in bias rock band’s music is one of my biggest pet peeves. Among my bias rock artists, there isn’t that much strong profanity overall. Typically “clean” versions of explicit rock songs are pretty shitty. It doesn’t even properly edit out the swear word. You can still figure out what the swear word is despite the censorship within the song. Apologies for that slightly off-topic rant.

Anyway, I created a My Chemical Romance playlist on my Spotify. I was a bit thrown off by the sing-screaming vocals of Gerard Way at first. Some of lead singers in my favorite rock bands have sing-screaming vocals. Red, Linkin Park. AFI, Black Veil Brides, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Three Days Grace to name a few. But nothing quite like Gerard Way’s vocals. His sing-screaming vocals are distinctive. Pretty clean cut in regards of easily making out the lyrics in MCR’s songs. But not so refined it feels too polished. Yet, it conveys a wide range of intensely raw emotions. Not only different types of frustrated or angry emotions. After two or three days, I got accustomed to the lead singer’s unique vocals.

Now I comprehend why people love My Chemical Romance. Out of most “scene” genre artist, this band has heavier tones injected into their music. I tend to gravitate to bands whose music has darker undertones. Even many years later, I cannot explain why this is the case with some of my rock genre music. Some things in life are just inexplicable conundrums. Anyway, I’ve really come to love My Chemical Romance’s music. I don’t necessarily have strong connection with their song lyrics. Although, My Chemical Romance meets the three essential elements I look for in rock music. Beautifully complex layering of instrumental sound, emotionally-charged vocals, and confessional lyrics. Also, not too repetitive lyrics or song beat. These are more than enough reasons for me to become very attached to a band. In addition, I really love the creative cinematic theatrics incorporated into their music videos. Not many of my “scene” bands have included theatrical elements into their music. The exception to this are AFI, Panic! at the Disco, and Fall Out Boy.

Sadly, My Chemical Romance officially announced their disbandment back in March 2013. Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys was MCR’s last full studio album before their disbandment. Following their break-up, the band released their greatest hits collection album, May Death Never Stop You. in March 2014. This greatest hits collection album included content spanning their 12 years music career and one unreleased single track titled “Fake Your Death”.

MCR recently posted an extremely cryptic video teaser promoting the date of September 23, 2016. This sent fans into a frenetic frenzy. People basically assumed the band was reuniting. Nope. Not the case at all. My Chemical Romance later revealed the significance of September 23, 2016.

In honor of its 10th anniversary, The Black Parade album will be re-issued as a deluxe edition. This version will include The Black Parade’s full-length album along with never-before content such as 11 demos and outtakes from the album’s original recording session. The actual 10th anniversary is October 23, 2016. I shall be eagerly looking forward to their The Black Parade/Living With Ghosts album.

MCR_1

Unfortunately, I have the tendency to discover some bands after they’ve officially broken up. Just my luck. Now I will never have the opportunity to see My Chemical Romance live in concert. I shall vicariously live through concert videos posted on YouTube. Also, I have Spotify to get My Chemical Romance music fix. That is more than enough to make me content. Overall, My Chemical Romance has earned a new fan even if I’m very late to the party.

 

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Black Veil Brides

BVB

According to Wikipedia, Black Veil Brides is classified as an “emo” rock band. Not this stereotypical bullshit again. I passionately hate the term “emo” for anything, regardless if it’s referring to a person or music. Sadly, society often slaps on the “emo” label for my rock bands. This really pisses me off.  I prefer to categorize my rock music as part of “scene” genre. My previous post elaborates on my strong disapproval of stereotyping in general. Stereotypes perpetuate a very close-minded perspective on life. Sorry for that slight rant.

Anyway back to my point. Alternative rock genre music has quite a wide spectrum in terms of sound. So this is why I had no idea what to expect with Black Veil Brides. I checked out some of this band’s music videos on YouTube. Normally, I don’t care to look up music videos. So this is speaking volumes about my level of intrigue in Black Veil Brides. “Heart of Fire” and “In The End” was my official introduction to the band’s music. I wasn’t expecting such an intense hard rock sound. The much heavier rock vibe of Black Veil Brides is drastically different from dark-wave pop/rock vibe of Andy Black’s The Shadow Side album. Out of all the rock bands I listen to, Black Veil Brides is pretty up there in hard rock vibes. Only my symphonic metal and nu-metal genre bands come close to this type of heavy hard rock sound. It’s safe to say I enjoy variety in my rock sub-genres.

It took me two to three days to get adjusted to the intensity of Black Veil Bride’s music. The drums, bass guitar, and two electric guitars offered a beautifully complex layering of sound in combination with Andy’s deep raspy vocals. This is literally the perfect combination. My ears were in love. I was hooked.

This sparked further exploration to other Black Veil Bride music videos on YouTube. Their past music videos definitely threw me for a major loop. “Knives and Pens”, “Perfect Weapon”, “The Legacy”, and “Rebel Love Song” music videos are very different from the more recent music videos. It is easier to get adjusted to this transition when you’ve listened to the band from its earlier days. Not when you’re going backwards like how I was. Sometimes things need to grow on you. This shaped my decision to stick with Spotify for a little bit until the drastic transition wasn’t so jarring.

Thankfully Spotify had all four Black Veil Bride albums. This worked out perfectly for me! The most noticeable thing I loved about their music is the very distinct sound for each album. This demonstrates the band’s musical evolution and maturity over the past six years.

After a few listens to their songs, I quickly learned why people love their music. Black Veil Brides embeds messages of self-empowerment within their song lyrics. No matter what crappy situations life throws your way, you choose how to react to it. Don’t ever let those situations diminish the full potential of your life. Also, don’t ever give your flaws and emotional scars the power to define you. Overall, their music encourages you to always be true to yourself. “Being called weird is like being called limited edition. Meaning you’re something people don’t see that often” (Ashley Purdy, bassist).

Various forms of media want to condition the masses by telling people what we should think along with how we should act or dress. (Side note: Let me reaffirm that there are universal moral principles that are applicable to all human beings in order to be civil citizens. I am not promoting people embrace an immoral or dangerously reckless lifestyle.) In general, society wants the masses to fit its “perfect” mold. Everyone experiences these societal pressures in their own ways.

“I encourage you all to find strength within yourself, no matter what. Be proud of who are you are and never let anyone take that away from you. Inner strength is something we are all born with. However I’ve learned that it requires patience and perseverance to fully achieve it. I promise you, though, as long as you know in your heart who you are what you want from this world, nothing is going to stop you” (Andy Biersack, lead singer). Black Veil Brides encourages their listeners to never change for the sake of society. You are awesome the way you are. Most of all, it is important to celebrate in the joyous times yet also always preserve through the tough times. Rock genre is known for beautifully encapsulating the ups and downs of life in within their lyrics. This is why I absolutely love this particular music genre.

I haven’t experienced such an emotional connection to a band’s music lyrics since Three Days Grace and Skillet. Rewind to 9-10 years back, it was a pretty dark time in my life. I’m glad I discovered Skillet and Three Days Grace thanks to randomly browsing YouTube. I didn’t have to pretend everything was fine and dandy when in fact it was the complete opposite. My introverted personality causes me to sometimes bottle up my feelings inside which is not healthy at all. Music especially alternative rock genre has always had a therapeutic effect on me. It gives me an outlet to vent my emotions in private. Emotional connection to song lyrics indicates stronger interest in a band.

Black Veil Brides have invoked a strong emotional connection with me. Song lyrics will often reflect the life experiences of the musician(s). I sought out interviews with the BVB band members on YouTube. Their interviews spanned from the early days to more recent. Being the front man, Andy Biersack talks more than the other four band members. I quickly learned why this was the case. The other four members aren’t as outgoing personality-wise like Andy. Yet Andy gives opportunities for Ashley, Jinxx, Jake, and CC to contribute to the interviews. By the way, Andy has a very soothing talking voice as well. He is so eloquently blunt and well-spoken in interviews. I thoroughly enjoyed Black Veil Bride interviews. Plus, you can tell how close the member by the way they interact with each other in the group interviews. They are all lovably, adorable dorks at times. Basically what you see is what you get which is extremely refreshing. After watching my fair share of interviews, I’ve come to love all five BVB members for different reasons. (Slightly random rambling: It is hard to ignore how ridiculously attractive Andy, Ashley, CC, Jake, and Jinxx are. They give me serious hair envy too. The awkward moment a guy is way prettier and has way better hair than you.)

I haven’t fallen so head over heels in love with a band since I discovered Panic! at the Disco five years ago. For the past 25 days, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this intense Andy Black and Black Veil Bride obsession. My appreciation quickly transformed into immense love. Congratulations, they’ve gained a new addition to the BVB Army. I know I’m late to the party…but it’s better late than never. Recently, Black Veil Brides announced their next album will be released in 2017 followed by a world tour. This gives me the opportunity to see them live in concert!

Andy Black

I love summer for many reasons. Besides the warmer weather, summer is a fantastic time for me to discover new books, music, and TV shows. It is almost six months since I joined Spotify. In fact, the only reason I joined was to listen to Panic! at the Disco’s new album, Death of a Bachelor, the day of its release. I had no idea how wonderfully addictive Spotify was. This is an amazing music streaming app. I cannot believe I haven’t join Spotify earlier.

The Shadow SideFrom June 14th to today, I have obsessively listened to Andy Black solo album and Black Veil Brides albums. Let’s start with Andy Black since it was The Shadow Side that sparked my obsession. Some days I get random whim urges to check out a certain artist/band. I’d seen Andy Black’s name sporadically pop up on my Twitter timeline and one of my friend’s Spotify listening sessions. So I decided to check out Andy Black’s music. I honestly had no idea what to expect but nonetheless kept an open-mind going into it.

Holy moly! I was completely surprised by Andy Black’s deep raspy vocals. It was a very pleasant surprise. The Shadow Side album was love at first listen. So much raw emotions woven into every song on the album. Beautiful storytelling of the ups and downs in his life. Now this is what I look for in music. Lyrical content depth is seriously lacking in majority of mainstream music. The dark-wave pop/rock vibe of Andy Black’s solo album was very appealing as well.

Also, I checked out the music video for the album’s single “We Don’t Have To Dance” on YouTube. HUGE MISTAKE! I was neither mentally nor emotionally prepared for his overwhelming gorgeousness. Andy is so beautiful…I legit cried the first time I saw “We Don’t Have To Dance” music video. (Random side note: I don’t casually throw around the word “beautiful” when describing a guy. It is the highest form of compliment that one can be bestowed with.) His gorgeousness and deep raspy vocals basically melted me into a puddle of fangirl feels! I don’t care how pathetic this sounds. Also, his unique vocal tone is quite soothing to listen to for many hours. I haven’t experienced such an intense reaction like that since I discovered Panic! at the Disco’s music five years ago. Brendon Urie now has a rival. I’m seriously not kidding.

I consulted the almighty Google to learn more about Andy Black. Andy Black, better known as Andy Biersack, is the lead singer of Black Veil Brides. Very fascinating name for a rock band. This very much intrigued me. Plus, I was curious whether Black Veil Bride’s music was similar in sound to Andy Black’s solo album. I’ve listened to the rock genre for the past 6-10 years. For some unknown reason, I had never heard of Black Veil Brides until very recently. The next blog post will go into more detail about my Black Veil Brides obsession.

I’ll leave you with Andy Black’s official music video for “They Don’t Need To Understand”. This music video is from two years ago. Andy Biersack wanted to introduce listeners to his upcoming Andy Black solo project.