Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sing it out ... no, really.

I came to My Chemical Romance fairly late. It was probably late 2006 or early 2007, and I was surfing the radio scanner to find something that sounded good / fun / interesting / SOMETHING. What came on was a song called "Teenagers." I loved it. It was like the Ramones, all pithy and pissy and fun. It grabbed my attention, and I started digging in.

I ran out that night, hitting a store to look for any CD that had a song called "Teenagers." The entire time, I kept kicking myself about not catching the band's name. I feared it'd be hours of flipping through CDs to find a song title. Not an awesome prospect, but I decided it was worth it.

Call it providence, call it fate, call it good luck or just plain coincidence (I prefer to call it awesome), but as I walked into the store the intercom was carrying the song, AND THEN it was announced that that was the single by My Chemical Romance. Cool! My work got a lot easier at that point.

I found the group's collection at the store and noticed they had a few albums out. I'd never heard of the group (I don't watch TV, listen to much radio or hang out with too many young'uns these days), but I didn't want to buy too many of their discs without knowing if I liked a full album of their work. I grabbed the one that had a song called "Teenagers" on it (the album was "The Black Parade") and headed for the checkout.

I took the Black Parade home, grabbed some headphones and got ready to pay attention. Right from the bat, I knew I was gonna love the album. I liked the theatrics, I liked the voice, I liked the guitar work. I liked that it was a concept album. I liked the variety of styles. Basically, the album was totally awesome and I was tickled to death (well, that's a really bad pun if you follow the concept of that album).

So I decided to go further with the group. I bought their other albums ("I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love," "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" and "Life on the Murder Scene") and really liked their sound. The DVD that came with the "Murder Scene" set let me get to know the band members better, and I liked their personalities and outlooks on things. I decided this was a band I really wanted to get into further ... So I went to see them live (twice). Both shows were excellent, and the band really put themselves into the performances. Lots of screaming, lots of sweat, lots of energy ... A good show for all involved.

So when I learned that My Chemical Romance was releasing a new album in 2010, I was tickled. A new album, released after I'd established my fandom. Finally, a release I could look forward to.

There were a couple of songs released on iTunes to promote the release of the album. "Na Na Na" was the first, and it totally grabbed me. This band knows energy, this band knows how to use hooks and this band knows how to spend 3 minutes pleasing listeners.

The song that really grabbed me, however, was "Sing." The message was excellent, and the whole song is so anthemic. The band really explored a variety of styles on "The Black Parade," but this was a progression. It was part ballad and part rallying call. The thumping drums at the beginning (which turn into really hard drums throughout ... almost violent cracks of thunder as the song ends), and the plaintive quality of the open vocals are very striking. AND the chorus is catchy as heck:

Sing it for the boys, sing it for the girls
Every time that you lose it, sing it for the world
Sing it from the heart, sing it til you're nuts
Sing it out for the ones that'll hate your guts

The whole "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys" is set in some futuristic dystopia that would have (and probably was) the kind of fodder you would have gotten in late 70s and early 80s flicks ... There is no just authority in this totalitarian society, but there are antiheroes (like the Killjoys/My Chemical Romance). "Sing" is a song of hope, which obviously has the ability to translate into today's society. People who blindly give authority to authorities who abuse it, governments that assume power for the sake of power, corporations who abuse the people and fear no reprisal because they control everything, etc.

Those points aside, you don't have to be a liberal, a conservative, an American, a conspiracy theorist or a sci-fi movie fan to dig the song. It's just got a simple empowerment message with a great hook and solid performances.

"Sing" hits the right spots. It doesn't actually get TOO preachy, it just gives you a kind of boost. The arrangement kind of forces you to pay attention in the beginning, then the song takes off. The overall impact hit me in a "hey, pay attention" sort of way.

About 2:40 into the song, the tempo changes and the lyrics pick up the pace. "The motivation generation" just sounds like a fantastic slogan to attach to our current generations (the last few, easily including mine) ... people who are stuck and lacking the inspiration, no motivation at all.

If you're ever looking for a good song to throw on the iPod, give this tune a shot. And if you are looking for a group with a solid catalog that you can explore at your leisure, My Chemical Romance might be the right band for you.  They've sure paid off for me. And songs like this tend to work their way into my head, providing a fitting soundtrack to the times.

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