The Foundations of Decay: My Chemical Romance in Six Songs
My Chemical Romance's long-awaited reunion tour at last kicked off in England on May 17, 2022, more than two years after it was delayed many times thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. And even better: the first dates were preceded the week before by MCR's first new release in five years, "The Foundations of Decay."
The New Jersey alt-rock heroes are well loved by their legions of fans over the last two decades. They pulled emo into the mainstream with breakthrough album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004) before mixing things up with the ambitious concept albums Welcome to the Black Parade (2006) and Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys (2010). Even if you weren't sporting black eyeliner in high school, you've probably got a favorite song of theirs - and we sure do, too: a pair of essential tracks from each of their three best-known albums.
"I'm Not OK (I Promise)": Inspired by lead singer Gerard Way's relationship woes in high school, this soaring single from Three Cheers became an anthem for anyone who was generally going through it.
"Helena": An unlikely Top 40 single inspired by the passing of Gerard and brother/bandmate Mikey Way's grandmother of the same name, who encouraged their passions in art and music. It was accompanied by a visually striking video inspired by Helena's funeral - a harrowing but cathartic experience for the brothers. "My grandmother's funeral was very hard and that video was like reliving it again," Gerard later said. "That video was very special, really personal."
"Welcome to the Black Parade": The first plink of that piano will immediately transport you to where you first were when you heard The Black Parade's lead track. (MCR had been working on it since they formed, but couldn't figure out a place to put it until they devised this album's death-inspired concepts.) But it was worth the wait: boasting theatrical production not unlike Queen's epic "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Black Parade" carried on to become the band's biggest chart hit, reaching the Top 10 in America and going all the way to No. 1 in England.
"Teenagers": It's not all about death for My Chemical Romance. "Teenagers," a stomping slice of glam punk about realizing that the cool kids are starting to get a little younger than you, is simply one of the funniest rock songs of the '00s. It's also, handily, their most popular song on Spotify.
"Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)": Another MCR concept album, this one featured the group as the titular Fabulous Killjoys, a fictional band living in a post-apocalyptic California. "Na Na Na" was written as the group's theme song - and it was good enough to wish the Killjoys were real. And through My Chemical Romance, they kind of are!
"The Kids from Yesterday": "Our favorite song on the record," Gerard Way put it simply to Billboard. "We were able to come to the conclusion that, yes, we have grown up, but we've done it our way...The song is really about growing up, nostalgia, finding a new way to describe an adult, which is to say, 'You're a kid from yesterday.'" Here's to all the kids from yesterday who'll get a chance to enjoy My Chemical Romance today - and tomorrow.