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Latest ‘Romance’ album lacks punk chemistry

Marty Schroeder | Thursday, April 6, 2006

Punk rock is dead. God save punk rock. “My Chemical Romance” is the epitome of what people think is now punk rock. How far from the truth they are.

After their hit single “I’m not Okay (I Promise)” from the album “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,” My Chemical Romance has released a double-disk live album entitled “Life on the Murder Scene.” This set also includes footage of their TV appearances and music videos.

These are nice perks, as most live albums are merely a rehashing of music that one could obtain by purchasing the studio albums. However, the video additions cannot make up for the band’s lack of musical talent as they rehash much of the goth/pop-punk/emo that has become popular in recent times.

Based in New Jersey, the band was formed in the early 2000s when lead singer Gerard Way and drummer Matt Pelissier began writing songs together. They completed their lineup when guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero and bassist Mikey Way joined.

Their first album was released on Eyeball Records, the label that also started the “screamo” (“screamo” is a genre combining “emo” music with screaming for the unfamiliar) band Thursday’s career. Entitled “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought You My Love,” the CD showcased My Chemical Romance as a band with aggressive yet poppy melodies and introverted, love-lorn lyrics.

But the lyrics and aggressive melodies are exactly what are wrong with the band. If one were to combine Iron Maiden, Weezer and a healthy dose of the Cure, this is the band that would result – a group that sounds like all three but does not have the musical ability to stand on their own.

Gone are the days of Iggy Pop, The Clash and Pennywise punk rock. Mohawks, leather jackets, piercing and all things that made punk rock the rebellious music it was have been traded in for black jackets, red ties, and black eyeliner that can be bought at any Hot Topic retail outlet.

Singing about how your girlfriend just broke up with you is fine. Just don’t sing it like everyone else while looking like everyone else. Weezer is full of nerds, Dashboard Confessional is a one-man, clean cut bleeding heart while My Chemical Romance looks and sounds like a sad rip-off of Green Day without the fame to back it up.

There is something that Weezer, Dashboard Confessional and Green Day all have in common: originality both in sound and image. These are two aspects essential to the music that My Chemical Romance definitely lacks.

Granted, the songs are catchy and they know how to make a crowd enjoy music. However, the crowd in question has probably never listened to anything related to punk rock since Blink 182 made it big.

The name itself is a credit to the pigeonhole this band has put itself in. My Chemical Romance conjures up images of a teenager with raging hormones lamenting that the girl in his math class did not talk to him as he walked by her.

If My Chemical Romance started singing about aspects of life that did not relate to broken hearts, they might have to change their name.

If one happened to be thinking about buying this album, your money would be better spent elsewhere. Go out and buy “London Calling” by The Clash or Weezer’s first self-titled album (colloquially called “The Blue Album). Those bands at least have something to say aside from the recycled pop that is passing as punk rock.