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The Black Parade

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The Black Parade
Cover has a small, marching parade skeleton figure along with the lettering.
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 23, 2006
RecordedApril – August 2006
StudioEl Dorado Recording Studios in Burbank, California
Genre
Length51:53
LabelReprise
Producer
My Chemical Romance chronology
Life on the Murder Scene
(2006)
The Black Parade
(2006)
AOL Sessions
(2007)
Alternative vinyl cover
Theblackparadevinylart.jpg
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.

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 Triple Platinum by the RIAA, as well as double Platinum certification in the United Kingdom and Gold certifications in both Argentina (by the CAPIF) and Chile (by the IFPI Chile). The Black Parade was given the Platinum Europe Award by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry for one million sales in Europe. The limited edition boxed set also earned My Chemical Romance a Grammy Award nomination. Four singles were released from the album: "Welcome to the Black Parade", "Famous Last Words", "I Don't Love You", and "Teenagers".

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 was the longest and most internationally comprehensive headlining tour the band played, featuring three legs in North America, two legs in Europe, and one in Asia, Australia, and Latin America.

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 three million copies in the United States as of 2016, and four million worldwide. The record was reissued as The Black Parade/Living with Ghosts on September 23, 2016, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the album's release.

Musical and lyrical themes[edit]

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 it. "The Patient" dies and death comes for him in the form of a parade.[1][2][3] This is based on singer 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.[3]

The album also saw the creation of the alter-ego band, The Black Parade. My Chemical Romance performed the album live in costume as the Black Parade until their October 7, 2007, Mexico City performance.[4][5] On stage, the band donned 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 Way assuming the character of a member of The Black Parade. His mannerisms were compared to Bob Geldof's performance of the lead character in the movie adaption of Pink Floyd's The Wall (1979), David Bowie's performance as Ziggy Stardust with Freddie Mercury's stage presence.[5] There are also similarities to Alice Cooper in his "Welcome to My Nightmare" period and the early work of Alison Briggs. The video Welcome to the Black Parade, directed by Samuel Bayer, portrays the events of the entire story starring all its characters, including Mother War, who is primarily involved in the song "Mama". Way has described this video as "The definitive video for the record" and one that "summed up the album."[citation needed]

Way has cited the bands Queen and Pink Floyd as major influences on the album.[6] 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".[7] Way has also said one of their biggest influences were The Smashing Pumpkins, often giving them credit for their thematic videos.[8] "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 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."[9]

The album also has strong influences from 1970s classic rock,[1][10][11][12] glam rock,[10][13] pop music,[1][14] punk rock[1] and gothic rock.[13] The Black Parade has been described as alternative rock,[1][15] emo,[1][16][17][18] pop punk,[19][2][20] post-hardcore,[21] punk rock,[22] and hard rock.[23]

Looking back at the creation of the album, guitarist Frank Iero was "blasé about people hating on the band for this decidedly 'non-scene' record."[9]

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 care: If I had to work at McDonald's for the rest of my life to play shows and ride in a van on tour? I've done it. I'll do it again.[9]

Release and promotion[edit]

On July 31, 2006, The Black Parade was announced for release.[24] In August, the band was filming a music video in Los Angeles[25] for "Famous Last Words". During filming, Way tore his ankle ligaments and Bryar suffered burns on his leg.[26] Bryar was hospitalized, which resulted in the band cancelling two shows.[27] On August 25, they 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.[28] On August 31, the band performed at the MTV Video Music Awards preshow in New York, debuting the then new song "Welcome to the Black Parade" during their performance.[29] Two days later, the song was made available for streaming via the band's MySpace account.[25] On September 12, the album's artwork and track listing was revealed.[30] The music video for "Welcome to the Black Parade" was released on September 28.[31] On October 21, the band was the musical guest on an episode of Saturday Night Live, where they performed "Welcome to the Black Parade" and "Cancer".[32]

The Black Parade was made available for streaming on October 19,[33] and was released through Reprise on October 24.[24] In March 2007, the band filmed another music video in Los Angeles,[34] 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 a lyric sheet, a photo of the band, and characters from the album.[citation needed]

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 includes a 64-page book which includes concept art by Gerard Way and making of the album notes by the band.[35]

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".[36]

On December 11, 2007, The Black Parade was released as a vinyl LP, a first for the band. Two versions were released, a regular edition and a special edition. Both 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"; the regular edition does not. The special edition comes in a slip-case box with two 15-page books. 2,500 copies of the special edition, and 3,000 copies of the regular vinyl edition were produced.[37] 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.[38]

In the video game Guitar Hero II (Xbox 360 version), the song "Dead!" was added to the game's track list[39] 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.[40]

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".[41][42] The video was also published on the band's YouTube channel with the title MCRX.[43] 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.[44][45][46] The reissue, titled The Black Parade/Living with Ghosts, includes 11 demos and live tracks.[47] 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]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic79/100[49]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Blender4.5/5 stars[50]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[51]
The Guardian4/5 stars[52]
Los Angeles Times4/4 stars[53]
NME9/10[54]
Q3/5 stars[55]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[56]
Spin4/5 stars[57]
Uncut4/5 stars[58]

The Black Parade has received generally favorable reviews. 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."[3] Tim Karan of Alternative Press called The Black Parade "MCR's whole raison d'etre rolled up into one mega-decibel calling card".[citation needed] IGN's Ed Thompson wrote, "The Black Parade is a rock and roll gem that celebrates everything that was over the top about the 1970s rock scene."[12] David Fricke of Rolling Stone praised the classic rock feel of the album.[59] 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."[51] Robert Christgau gave the album a two-star honorable mention saying, "In prog, a good sense of humor means so much."[60]

The album was not without its share of criticism, and was panned by such publications as The Observer and Aversion. Jamie Hodgson of The Observer gave it one star saying, "...it reeks of a band with ideas above its station."[61] 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".[62] 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."[2]

Accolades[edit]

Rolling Stone ranked The Black Parade #20 in its "Top 50 Albums of 2006" feature.[63] It was named the fifth best album of 2006 by Spin magazine.[64] Wizard magazine praised the album in their "Best of 2006" issue, declaring it "an instant classic."[65] IGN named it one of the best rock albums of the last decade.[66] Entertainment Weekly ranked the album as the third best record of the year, surpassed only by Gnarls Barkley and TV on the Radio.[51] It was included in Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics list at number nine.[67]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Rock Sound UK Top 75 Albums of the Year 2006 6[68]
Spin US The 40 Best Albums of 2006 2006 5[69]
Rolling Stone US 50 Best Albums of 2006 2006 20[70]
NME UK NME’s top 50 albums of 2006 2006 10[71]
Q UK Q Magazine Recordings Of The Year 2006 32[72]
The Village Voice US Pazz & Jop: 2006's Top 25 Albums 2006 17[73]
Kerrang! UK The 50 Best Rock Albums Of The 2000s 2016 2[74]

Commercial performance[edit]

The Black Parade debuted at number two in the United States on the Billboard 200 behind Hannah Montana (2006).[75][76] It also debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, behind Robbie Williams' Rudebox (2006).[77] 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).[78] The band achieved its first number one single in the United Kingdom with "Welcome to the Black Parade".[79] 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.[80] In 2012, The Black Parade was certified Platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for one million sales in Europe,[81] and was also certified Triple Platinum by the RIAA for selling over 1.1 million copies.[82] It has been certified 2x Platinum in the UK, and has sold just over 600,000 units there to date.[83] It received Gold certifications in both Argentina (by the CAPIF) and Chile (by the IFPI Chile).[84][85] The Black Parade was given the Platinum Europe Award by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry for one million sales in Europe.[citation needed] The limited edition boxed set also earned My Chemical Romance a Grammy Award nomination.[3][59] As of January 2018 the album had sold over three million copies in the U.S.[86] "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.[87]

Tour[edit]

Most of the concerts of The Black Parade World Tour involved heavy usage 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 was the longest and most internationally comprehensive headlining tour the band played, 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.[88]

Over the course of this tour, My Chemical Romance dubbed themselves The Black Parade for the first part of their performance. This convinced 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. Six shows were cancelled from April 29, 2007 to May 4, 2007, after the band and crew contracted food poisoning.[89] The band Circa Survive had to replace Muse, whose members 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.[90] 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.[91] Six shows were cancelled from April 29, 2007 to May 4, 2007, after the band and crew contracted food poisoning.[89] 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.[92][93] 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.[94]

Track listing[edit]

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

No.TitleLength
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" (featuring Liza Minnelli)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) (omitted on the Japanese editions)2:53
Total length:51:53

Bonus tracks[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Technical[edit]

  • Rob Cavallo – producer
  • My Chemical Romance – producers
  • Doug McKean – engineer
  • Chris Steffan – recording engineer
  • Jimmy Hoyson – assistant engineer
  • Jon Herroon – assistant engineer
  • Chris Lord-Alge – mixing
  • Keith Armstrong – assistant engineer
  • Ted Jensen – mastering
  • David Campbell – string and horn arrangements
  • Lars Fox – additional Pro Tools
  • Andrew "Hans" Busher – guitar technician
  • Tyler Dragness – guitar technician
  • Mike "Sack" Fasano – drum technician
  • Cheryl Jenets – project coordinator
  • Brain Schechter/Riot Squad – management
  • Craig Aaronson – A&R
  • Chris Anthony – photography
  • Matt Taylor – additional photography on Limited Edition, art direction, design
  • Gerard Way – additional photography on Limited Edition, art direction
  • Ray Toro – additional photography on Limited Edition
  • Ellen Wakayama – art direction
  • James Jean – illustrations

Charts[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 3
Austrian Albums Chart 4
Belgian Flemish Albums Chart 33
Belgian Walloon Albums Chart 91
Canadian Albums Chart 2
Danish Albums Chart 29
Dutch Albums Chart 39
French SNEP Albums Chart 69
Finnish Albums Chart 11
German Albums Chart 11
Irish Albums Chart 5
Italian Albums Chart 20
Japanese Albums Chart 10
Mexican Albums Chart 35
New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart 1
Norwegian Albums Chart 11
Scottish Albums Chart[95] 3
Swedish Albums Chart 4
Swiss Albums Chart 18
Taiwanese Albums Chart[96] 11
UK Albums (OCC)[97] 2
US Billboard 200[98] 2
US Rock Albums (Billboard) 1
US Digital Albums (Billboard) 6
US Tastemakers (Billboard) 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[99] Gold 30,000^
Australia (ARIA)[100] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[101] Platinum 100,000^
Chile[85] Gold 7,500
Ireland (IRMA)[102] Platinum 15,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[103] Platinum 250,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[104] Gold 50,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[105] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[106] 2× Platinum 735,305[107]
United States (RIAA)[108] 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[109] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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