It was last back in 2014 that My Chemical Romance fans from around the globe could celebrate the release of brand-new music from their favorite band. An entire generation of kids with black liners on their eyes and hearts full of anger only recently found out that Gerard Way singing ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ was probably not for the final time.
My Chemical Romance. Photo credit: Warner Records / Devin Sarno
It was May 19th, 2012. Almost exactly ten years ago at the Bamboozle Music Festival in 2012, My Chemical Romance took to the stage to perform their set at the North Beach Ashbury Park in New Jersey after they agreed to replace blink-182. It was a performance which would turn out to be their last live performance before breaking up in 2013. All the usual suspects were present on the setlist, from the Platinum Hit ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’ to the 3x Platinum ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’. Interestingly, the very last song that they played at that festival was the Gold-certified ‘Helena’, which famously ends with the words ‘so long, and good night’. Considering the circumstances that followed, it raised a raging question among all Killjoys (or MCRmy, if you so prefer) – was it some sort of a cryptic indication of what was to come? It’s difficult to ascertain.
Those questions have since taken a backseat, and the feelings of sadness and anticipation have captured every fan’s imagination. Eight years since the last release and ten years since the last performance, My Chemical Romance is back. Not with the greatest pomp and show, but with a great deal of surprise. After all, if you had any doubt about their influence as a rock band, the single social media post with the link to ‘Foundations of Decay’ is sure to have convinced you otherwise.
The song itself has a rather dark flavor to it, blending in from the wall of static sound right in the very early stages of the track. A serene piano rhythm paints a beautifully contrasting picture against a gritty wall of distortion, helped along by a solid bassline and a perhaps further serene guitar lick. Right up to this point, this is as grand a comeback as ever! Yet, the anticipation keeps on building, waiting for the conclusion to the guitar melody.
That conclusion arrives, and does so in style! A crash-and-kick welcomes the vocals, and we’re well-and-truly into the song now – a song that has such an importance to so many people all over the world – commoners and Killjoys alike! The vocal performance, though, curiously takes a backseat in the verses in what one would expect to be a grand exhibition of Gerard Way’s fantastic voice. That perception soon changes in the transition to the chorus, where the vocals really open up and demonstrate their sheer capability. Yet, the song seemed to have treated the singing as just another instrument in terms of the music, and it is a departure from their earlier work with much clearer, upfront vocals. Experimental treatment of vocals seems to be one common theme for bands making comebacks – from Green Day to MCR – but it remains to be seen if the new age can rival the popularity of the classics!
MCR live at Terminal 5, New York City. Photo credit: Tony Cano
Instrumentally, the heavy, gritty guitar tones and the energetic drumming is just another testament to the dark flavor of the overall track, and breakdowns here and there show off the synergy between the guitars, bass and the drums while working in tandem. The new is just another incarnation of the old in this department, and the energy of a typical My Chemical Romance performance can still hardly be beaten.
The MCR of ‘Foundations of Decay’ is still very much the My Chemical Romance of the times gone by, but it has evolved by the most basic agents of change in nature – time. And only time shall tell what comes next!
Listen to 'Foundations of Decay' on our indie rock and alternative music 2022 if you haven't yet!