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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Rock Music

I didn’t grow up listening to rock music. Middle school was truly when music became an integral part of my life. It wasn’t until 2006 I discovered the rock genre. There is a three way tie with artist/band who introduced me to this particular music genre. Skillet’s Comatose album. Three Days Grace’s One-X album. AFI’s Decemberunderground album. 2006 was a pivotal year that left an indelible impact on my musical taste. This would shape my music preference as a teenager along with well into adulthood years.

In my previous blog post, it recounted of my discovery of AFI thanks to Smallville’s episode 6.09 titled “Subterranean”. YouTube’s debut in 2005 was monumental for the music industry. People had more access to music from their favorite artists and bands. It wasn’t until 2006 I regularly used this video-sharing website. Around this time, Smallville and Gossip Girl were my TV show obsessions. Fandom subculture was further perpetuated within society thanks to technological advances of the internet. YouTube was one of the leading technological platforms which influenced the fandom subculture. TV show fan-made YouTube videos related to Smallville and Gossip Girl was my official introduction to Three Days Grace and Skillet.

100 Years of Rock Music’s Evolution (Infographic)

Rock music has a plethora of sub-genres. Further sub-genres continue to proliferate within the rock genre still to this day. My rock music interest lays mainly in “scene” genre. Although, some of my rock bands are on the heavier spectrum in terms of musical style. So they don’t exactly go into the “scene” categorization. Over the past 10 years, I’ve broadened my music horizons and discovered many more rock artists. Way too many to list. Often, I’ve branched out to other rock artists as a result of influences from my friends or social environment.

My bias rock bands are usually categorized in 3-5 sub-genres. It gets so confusing to keep track of what genre classifications my artists fit into. Cumulatively, my favorite rock bands have many genre labels. Pop punk rock. Alternative rock. Christian alternative rock. Nu-metal. Hardcore punk. Alternative metal. Progressive rock. Symphonic metal. Hard rock. Post-hardcore. Electronic rock. Gothic metal. Punk rock. Glam metal. Emo pop rock.

Rock subgenres

Over the past few years, I’ve adopted the philosophy of keeping genre classifications as broad as possible. I’m not even sure of the exact distinction between sub-genres at times. Some sub-genres sound too similar to me.

Also, certain rock sub-genres are surrounded with much stigma and inaccurate assumptions. It promotes a closed-minded, ignorant outlook on certain types of music. Those alone can cause a person to not give an artist or band a chance. This is why if people ask about my bands I keep genre labels as very general. Not using very niche sub-genre classifications. I will only do this with individuals who are already familiar with the particular niche sub-genre. Sometimes, sub-genres constrict people from generating more vast variety among their artists. It will pleasantly surprise you what artists/bands you discover when you embrace a more open-minded perspective. This is certainly true when it comes to my rock genre artists.

I tend to gravitate towards emotionally-charged rock with confessional lyrics about life in general. The moments of joy, frustration, hope, and sorrow to name a few emotions. Cliché concepts don’t bother me too much as long it is brilliantly executed within the song’s lyrics and musical style.

Lately, I’ve contemplated what drew me to my favorite rock bands. Often, people’s attachment to an artist or band revolves around emotional connection to song lyrical content. This is not case for majority of my rock bands. What a fascinating conundrum. Then why do I still listen to my bias rock bands many years later? I look for three essential elements in my rock music. Beautifully complex layering of drums and guitars, emotionally-charged vocals, and confessional lyrics. Not too repetitive lyrics or song beat. I want to be able to tell my rock songs apart. Often, this cannot be said about pop genre music.

To date, there are only three rock bands who have invoked such strong emotional connection from me through their confessional lyrics. Skillet, Three Days Grace, and Black Veil Brides. Also, they have a much heavier rock sound incorporated into their music. Times when I’m experiencing any sort of anger, frustration, or sorrow I’ll listen to heavier tone rock music from my hardcore genre artists.

Music Quote_1

I do listen to other music genres like soundtrack, Asian pop, and smidgen of mainstream pop. Yet I don’t listen to these genres as frequently compared to rock music. I can listen to my beloved rock artists regardless of my mood. Also, his particular music genre is extremely therapeutic. Over the past 10 years, my love for rock genre music keeps exponentially growing. It never gets old. Only getting better with age like a fine wine.

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!