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The Black Parade

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This article is about the album. For the song, see Welcome to the Black Parade.
The Black Parade
Cover has a small, marching parade skeleton figure along with the lettering.
Studio album by My Chemical Romance
Released October 23, 2006
Recorded April – August 2006 at El Dorado Recording Studios in Burbank, California
Genre
Length 51:53
Label Reprise
Producer
My Chemical Romance chronology
Life on the Murder Scene
(2006)
The Black Parade
(2006)
AOL Sessions (2007)
Alternative vinyl cover
Singles from The Black Parade
  1. "Welcome to the Black Parade"
    Released: September 12, 2006
  2. "Famous Last Words"
    Released: January 22, 2007
  3. "I Don't Love You"
    Released: April 2, 2007
  4. "Teenagers"
    Released: July 9, 2007

The Black Parade is the third studio album by American rock band My Chemical Romance. Released on October 23, 2006 through Reprise Records, it was produced by Rob Cavallo, known for having produced multiple albums for Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day. It is a rock opera centering on a dying character with cancer known as "The Patient". The album tells the story of his apparent death, experiences in the afterlife, and subsequent reflections on his life.

Four singles were released from the album: "Welcome to the Black Parade", "Famous Last Words", "I Don't Love You", and "Teenagers".[10] The Black Parade has received generally favorable reviews, and the band achieved its first number one single in the United Kingdom with "Welcome to the Black Parade". The album debuted at number two on both the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart and is also certified as Platinum by the RIAA,[11] as well as a Platinum certification in the United Kingdom and a Gold certification in Argentina by the CAPIF and in Chile by the IFPI Chile.[12][13] The Black Parade was given the Platinum Europe Award by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry for 1 million sales in Europe. The limited edition boxed set also earned My Chemical Romance a Grammy Award nomination.[14][15] In the video game Guitar Hero II (Xbox 360 version), the song "Dead!" was added to the game's track list prior to the earlier PlayStation 2 version, and the three songs "Teenagers," "Famous Last Words" and "This Is How I Disappear" are available for download. The Black Parade has sold two million copies in the United States as of 2016, and three million worldwide. The record was reissued as a 10th Anniversary Edition on September 23, 2016 in celebration of the album's release.

Musical and lyrical themes[edit]

The Black Parade as shown in the music video to the song "Welcome to the Black Parade".

The Black Parade is a rock opera centering around the character of "The Patient". It is about his passage out of life and the memories he has of his life. "The Patient" dies and death comes for him in the form of a parade.[1][7][14] This is based upon Gerard Way's notion of death appearing to a person in the form of their fondest memory, in this case seeing a parade as a child.[14]

The album also saw the creation of the alter-ego band, The Black Parade. My Chemical Romance would perform the album live in costume as the Black Parade up until October 7, 2007 Mexico City performance.[16][17] On stage, the band would don black marching uniforms similar to those worn by The Beatles for the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). The live performance was theatrical, with Gerard Way assuming the character of a member of The Black Parade. Way's mannerisms were compared to Bob Geldof in his performance of the lead character in the movie adaption of Pink Floyd's The Wall (1979). His performance was also compared to David Bowie's performance of Ziggy Stardust and Freddie Mercury's stage presence.[17] There are also similarities to Alice Cooper in his "Welcome to My Nightmare" period. The video for "Welcome to the Black Parade", directed by Sam Bayer, portrays the events of the entire story, starring all its characters, including Mother War, who is primarily involved in the song "Mama". Gerard Way has described this video as "The definitive video for the record" and one that "summed up the album."

The album also has strong influences from 1970s classic rock,[1][18][19][20] glam rock,[18][21] pop music,[1][22] punk rock[1] and gothic rock.[21] The album's style is considered pop punk,[1][19][21] and alternative rock.[22]

Lead singer Gerard Way has cited the bands Queen and Pink Floyd as major influences on the album.[23] Similarities have been noted between the guitar orchestration in "Welcome to the Black Parade", and the arrangements of Queen. Additionally, Pink Floyd's The Wall and David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972) are noted as major influences for the album, which is especially evident when comparing the album's opening track, "The End.", to the first tracks on The Wall, "In the Flesh?", and on Ziggy Stardust, "Five Years".[24] Gerard Way has also stated that one of their biggest influences were The Smashing Pumpkins, often giving them credit for their thematic videos.[25]

“The intention was to make something that was classic, something timeless,” explained guitarist Ray Toro. “Something that 20 or 30 years from now, parents could play for their kids and say, “This is what I was listening to when I was your age. Check it out, it’s still fucking cool.’ We wanted to make a record you could pass down. There’s a lot of music out now that doesn’t feel like that.”[26]

Looking back at the creation of the album, guitarist Frank Iero was blasé about criticism[clarify] the band received for this decidedly “non-scene” record. "When we did Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, we didn't fit in," he said. “There was a little less screaming and a little more melody, but it was still us. Never was it a case of, 'Don't put that melody there because Hardcore Chuck, who took me to my first show at Fairfield American Legion Hall, is really going to be bummed at me.' I don’t give a shit: If I had to work at McDonald's for the rest of my life to play shows and ride in a shitty van on tour? I've done it. I'll do it again."[26]

Release and promotion[edit]

On July 31, 2006, The Black Parade was announced for release.[27] In August, the band was filming a music video in Los Angeles[28] for "Welcome to the Black Parade". During filming, Way managed to tear his ankle ligaments and Bryar suffered burns on his leg.[29] Bryar was hospitalized for a period of time, which resulted in the band cancelling two shows.[30] On August 25, the band released a video of a pre-recorded press conference, during which they revealed a number of details about the album, such as song titles and touring information.[31] On August 31, the band performed at the 2006 Video Music Awards preshow in New York, debuting new song "Welcome to the Black Parade" during the show.[32] Two days later, the song was made available for streaming via the band's Myspace account.[33] On September 12, the album's artwork and track listing was revealed.[34] The music video for "Welcome to the Black Parade" was released on September 28.[35]

The Black Parade was made available for streaming on October 19,[36] and was released through Reprise on October 24.[27] In March 2007, the band filmed another music video in Los Angeles,[37] this time for "Teenagers".

Versions[edit]

Limited edition box set.

Several special editions of The Black Parade were released. One bears white text on a black background, and the second has black text on a white background. A third version has the normal booklet reversed, showing the picture of the parade drawn and painted by comic artist James Jean. Inside the booklet there are also lyrics, a photo of the band, and characters from the album.

A limited edition of the album was released the same time as the original release. It contains the same track listing as the original release but it is sold in a box wrapped in black velveteen material. It also contains a 64-page book which includes concept art by Gerard Way and making of the album notes by the band.[38]

The version of The Black Parade that was released in Japan contains different content than the other regular editions. It contains 14 tracks, but the 14th track is the song "Heaven Help Us" (which was released with the single version of "Welcome to the Black Parade"), instead of the song "Blood". The Japanese version is also an Enhanced CD and includes the music video of "Welcome to the Black Parade".[39]

On December 11, 2007, The Black Parade was released as a vinyl LP, a first for the band. Two versions were released, the regular edition and the special edition. Both editions contain two records. The first record of both editions has tracks one to four on the A-side and five to seven the B-side. The second record has tracks eight to ten on the A-side and 11 to 13 on the B-side. The special edition includes the hidden track, "Blood," while the regular edition does not. The special edition comes in a slip-case box with two 15-page books. 2,500 copies were made of the special edition, while 3,000 copies of the regular vinyl edition were made.[40] On February 10, 2015, the album was repressed on vinyl as a 2-LP set. The D side of the album includes an engraved picture of the cover of artwork.[41]

10th anniversary reissue[edit]

On July 20, 2016, the band posted on their official Twitter and Facebook pages a video with the piano intro from "Welcome to the Black Parade", ending with a cryptic date, "9/23/16".[42][43] The video was also published on the band's YouTube channel with the video titled "MCRX".[44] This led to numerous rumors and reports on the band's possible reunion until it was revealed to be a reissue of The Black Parade with unreleased demos.[45][46][47] The reissue, titled The Black Parade/Living with Ghosts, includes 11 demos and live tracks. Two months before its release, an early version of "Welcome to the Black Parade", titled "The Five of Us Are Dying", was made available for streaming.[48]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 79/100[49]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Alternative Press 4.5/5 stars[18]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[50]
The A.V. Club B− [51]
Entertainment Weekly A− [52]
IGN (8.1/10)[20]
Melodic 4.5/5 stars[53]
NME (9/10)[14]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[54]
Spin (8/10)[55]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars[56]

Critical response[edit]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 79, based on 24 professional critic reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[49] Dan Martin from NME compared the album to Green Day's American Idiot, positing that "it's a piece of work that will challenge every preconception you ever had about the people who made it."[14] Tim Karan of Alternative Press called The Black Parade "MCR's whole raison d'etre rolled up into one mega-decibel calling card". Ed Thompson of IGN stated, "The Black Parade is a rock and roll gem that celebrates everything that was over the top about the 1970s rock scene."[20] David Fricke of Rolling Stone praised the classic rock feel of the album.[15] Entertainment Weekly stated that "On their third studio album, a musical H-bomb of an effort, the Jersey quintet combine the rock-opera pomp of Queen with the darker, dirtier tones of their screamo past: Call it a Bro-hemian Rhapsody. Even without its broad concept — a dying cancer patient seeks revenge and redemption — Parade stands as one of the most cohesive, engaging rock records of 2006."[57] Robert Christgau gave the album a two-star honorable mention ((2-star Honorable Mention)) and said, "In prog, a good sense of humor means so much."[58]

The album was not without its share of criticism, and was panned by such publications as The Observer and Aversion. Stated Jamie Hodgson of The Observer, "...it reeks of a band with ideas above its station."[59] Matt Schild of Aversion originally refused to review the album, simply writing the word "lame" in lieu of an actual review. Bowing to editorial pressure, he later posted a review listing specific aspects of the album before denouncing them as "lame".[60] Theon Weber of Stylus praised the album's use of Queen influences, but went on to summarize the album as "...a goofy record of bubblegum punk, with Queen lapping at its edges and enough good tracks to justify the smattering of empty screamfests."[7] The album was included in Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics list at number 9.[61]

Accolades[edit]

Rolling Stone went on to rank The Black Parade #20 in its "Top 50 Albums of 2006" feature.[62] Spin magazine named it the 5th best album of 2006.[63] Wizard Magazine praised the album in their "Best of 2006" issue, declaring it "an instant classic."[64] IGN named it one of the best rock albums of the last decade.[65] Entertainment Weekly ranked the album as the third best record of the year, being surpassed only by Gnarls Barkley and TV on the Radio.[57]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Rock Sound UK Top 75 Albums of the Year 2006 6[66]
Spin US The 40 Best Albums of 2006 2006 5[67]
Rolling Stone US 50 Best Albums of 2006 2006 20[68]
NME UK NME’s top 50 albums of 2006 2006 10[69]
Q UK Q Magazine Recordings Of The Year 2006 32[70]
Kerrang! UK The 50 Best Rock Albums Of The 2000s 2016 2[71]

Commercial performance[edit]

The Black Parade debuted at number two in the United States on the Billboard 200 behind Hannah Montana (2006).[72] It also debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, behind Robbie Williams' Rudebox (2006).[73] In its first week, the album sold 240,000 copies, far surpassing the 38,000 best-week sales of the band's previous album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004).[74] The album debuted at number three on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart and was certified platinum after shipping more than 70,000 copies. It debuted atop the charts in New Zealand and was certified platinum there, with shipments of more than 15,000.[75] In 2012, The Black Parade was certified Platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for 1,000,000 sales in Europe.[76] The Black Parade has also been certified platinum by the RIAA for selling over 1,100,000 copies.[77] It has been certified 2x Platinum in the UK, and has sold just over 600,000 units there to date. As of August 25, 2007, the album has sold 1,169,697 copies in the U.S. "Welcome to the Black Parade", a single from "The Black Parade" became My Chemical Romance's first and only top 10 single in the United States.

Tour[edit]

Most of the concerts of The Black Parade World Tour involved use of pyrotechnics, especially during "Mama" and "Famous Last Words"

My Chemical Romance began The Black Parade World Tour on February 22, 2007 in Manchester, New Hampshire's Verizon Wireless Arena. The tour featured 138 performances worldwide, as well as several festival and condensed shows. The tour is the longest and most internationally comprehensive headlining tour that the band has played to date, featuring three legs in North America, two legs in Europe, and one in Asia, Australia, and Latin America. The shows at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, Mexico on October 7, 2007 and Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey on October 24, 2007 were filmed for the DVD, The Black Parade Is Dead!, which was released on July 1, 2008.

Over the course of this tour, My Chemical Romance dubbed themselves The Black Parade for the first part of their performance, convincing many concert goers that The Black Parade was initially a separate, opening band. During the tour there were several cancellations and some members left the tour for personal or medical reasons. Leading up to their tour date at The DCU Arena, many of the staff members of the tour fell ill with food poisoning. The band Circa Survive had to replace Muse, members of which also suffered from the same food poisoning. On January 11, 2007 Frank Iero left the tour because of an unspecified illness. He was replaced by Drive By guitarist Todd Price.[78] Mikey Way took time off to get married and spend time with his new wife (Alicia Simmons) and was replaced by guitar tech, Matt Cortez, from April 18, 2007 until October 4, 2007.[79] Six shows were cancelled from April 29, 2007 to May 4, 2007 after the band and crew contracted food poisoning.[80] Bob Bryar suffered injuries relating to his wrists during the tour which led to the cancellation of the show at the University of Maine on October 27, 2007. Bryar left the tour on November 9, 2007 and was replaced by a friend of the band, Wagner, who wished to remain anonymous.[81][82] Following the November 11, 2007 show in Newcastle, Frank Iero left the tour to return home after learning about a family member's illness. He was replaced by Matt Cortez.[83]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Gerard Way, Ray Toro, Frank Iero, Mikey Way and Bob Bryar

No. Title Length
1. "The End."   1:52
2. "Dead!"   3:15
3. "This Is How I Disappear"   3:59
4. "The Sharpest Lives"   3:20
5. "Welcome to the Black Parade"   5:11
6. "I Don't Love You"   3:58
7. "House of Wolves"   3:04
8. "Cancer"   2:22
9. "Mama"   4:39
10. "Sleep"   4:43
11. "Teenagers"   2:41
12. "Disenchanted"   4:55
13. "Famous Last Words"   4:59
14. "Blood" (hidden track; starts at 1:31) 2:53
Total length:
51:53
Bonus tracks
B-sides

Release history[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Personnel[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]