My Chemical Romance: Conventional Weapons (Warner Music Group)
My Chemical Romance have started releasing two songs a month (to become 10 in total) that were birthed back in 2009 as part of their Conventional Weapons sessions. Katie Clare fills us in on the details & gives us her thoughts on the first couple.
‘The Black Parade’ was a conceptually dark album about the finality of death, with an ostentatiously bleak narrative decorated with a palpable humour, that bordered slightly on the camp-ish side, it was a modern day rock opera with cult status baked in. Unapologetically magnificent it made MCR quite rightly the new dark princes of the world. However all was not so magnificent in the studio for the New Jersey boys during 1998 and 1999.
As Frank Lero reflected over in his blog on September 14th 2012
âIf there was ever a time to run the credits, call it a day and go out on top …this was it. But here we were, still relatively young and a wide open future seemed to be a blessing and a curse when wondering ‘what the hell comes next?’ A large percentage of my being was convinced the band was over at that point, and so, as it does, depression crept it’s way inâ
The band took the decision to continue, and plans for the next album began moving ahead: writing, creating and then coming together in L.A to start on production.
However the nature and format of their creativity had shifted direction as Frank explained further.
âYou tend to forget how to do the simple stuff. Like just connect with your friends and make music. No rules, no expectations. Hindsight being 20/20, maybe we should have just locked ourselves in a room and made a bunch of noise until we were inspired to collectively say something on a record. That’s not what ended up happening. Instead we planned on making a specific kind of record, we wrote songs to fit that specific plan, and then we flogged ourselves for it not feeling right, organic, or complete.â
Almost a year passed and the uncomfortable way in which the tracks had emerged weighed heavily on them and they were shelved.
The band later returned to the studio with music engineer Doug McKean and producer Rob Cavallo to create the pop punk ‘Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’ once again concept led album it’s all comic books, sexy boots, plastic gun play and life or death adventures and chases across a post apocalyptic America. Equally as entertaining as ‘The Black Parade’, ‘Danger Days’ turned the black to neon, the weakness of bleak to supercharged self sacrifice, making the band themselves more assessable to the mainstream and establishing them as an ambitious going concern.
Fast forward to September 2012 and again Frank’s blog entry.
âRecently we had a band meeting, we ended up talking about the past, and together we listened to those songs we created almost 4 years ago. We discussed the the way those songs made us feel, how they led us to where we are now and what the fate of those songs should be. How can we fully move on if we continue to hide the past? Together we decided that this chapter in My Chemical Romance’s history no longer needed to be locked away.â
So there would be a release of that ill fated post ‘The Black Parade’ album however instead of a straight forward LP they would arrive in the form of five 7â singles each containing two tracks to be released over five months from October 2012.
The first released ‘Boy Division’ a high octane anthem of vitriol âI bought my enemies the rope to hang me and the knives to get me, you can watch them stab me on your televisionâ scream sings Gerard Way . Lyrically it certainly lends its self to the feeling that the enormous success of ‘The Black Parade’ had in some way contaminated the band. ‘Boy Division’ checks all the pop punk boxes and does so in a way you feel instantly attached to it â conventional maybe but highly infectious.
The singles B-side ‘Tomorrow’s Money’ has more depth and texture upfront than ‘Boy Division’ but it is born of the same creative mixing jar “Who kills a boy without a T-shirt to sell, You keep your money, I’ll see you in hell” lyrically this could fit dozens of interpretations from cyberspace bullying to personal life intrusion.
There is nothing wrong with a bit of well behaved aggression, I look forward with genuine eagerness for the future Conventional Weapons releases and hope that at some point MCR take these on the road â as a group they are consummately exciting and enjoyable live and to see, the until now, missing link between ‘The Black Parade’ and ‘Danger Days’ would be both musical and emotionally rewarding.
November 23rd sees the release of ‘AMBULANCE’ with the B-Side ‘Gun’. December 18th, ‘The World Is Ugly’, B-Side ‘The Light Behind Your Eyes’.The fourth single will arrive January 8th 2013 titled ‘Kiss The Ring’, on the flip side ‘Make Room!!!’ and February 5th will see the final release ‘Surrender The Night’ with ‘Burn Bright’ on the B side.
All words by Katie Clare. More articles by Katie can be found here.