Monday, November 13, 2006

My Chemical Romance? Who Knew?

So, my brother the professional musician had mentioned My Chemical Romance before but I wasn't paying attention. So when he did it again in this raving tone that I don't often hear from him about bands that get mTV play, I thought I'd check them out to be polite.

Bizarre. The lead singer witnessed the Eleventh of September attacks in NY where he was a cartoonist. And as a result he decided to do something productive with his life.

So he went and joined the Peace Corp? Uh, no. He volunteered to read to shut-ins? Nope. He started a rock group.

Ok, fine. So the good causes are missing a bright-eyed young volunteer. But the world has a band that's made one kick ass album, The Black Parade. I think as a 41 year-old I may technically be forbidden to listen to this, but until They come to stop me I'll enjoy it.

Matisyahu's "Youth" says "Youth is the Engine of the World" and this is doubtless true. The energy of Youth drives things for good or for ill. Recently I think it's for huge Good, as surveys of the young are showing such compassion and concern for each other and the world that researchers have labeled these kids the "We" generation. But it's very sad that the particular youths in My Chemical Romance have made a great album that, like other great albums is obsessed. But unlike most rock, with Death. And it's sad that post 9-11, it's perfectly understandable.

We have a gorgeously conceived and realized piece of work that captures the anxious place that the world is at the early stages of this War of Terror. Fewer people are dying in wars than ever before, but we are feeling more unsafe, more aware of the transience of this existence, it seems. It's more on the surface. We used to have music that rocked like this obsessed with getting really slutty girls to have sex with you. Perhaps in the 70s many of the people singing about drunken sex were doing so to get away from the anxiouness from death. But now we're not even able to do that as a culture.

Sure, sex is there in hip hop, but honestly, it doesn't even feel real. It's too tied to the business of pornography and strip joints. The guys do it to demonstrate absolute power over the women. But hip-hop's women do it for the money. And the guys don't care as long as the woman is on her knees so that it there's at least the appearance of domination for his friends to see.

Anyway. For a wonderful album that will make you feel sad and worry about how best to live your life as you slide inexorably towards the gaping maw of Death... My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade.

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