Who Sounds like My Chemical Romance?
Though their co-founder Gerard Way has publicly described the emo genre as “fucking garbage,” My Chemical Romance, regularly denoted as MCR, is often categorized as such and even helped launch the genre to mainstream popularity. Additionally, the group utilizes the musical stylings of alternative rock, pop punk, and post-hardcore genres.
Although they no longer produce new music, the band has a unique and daring discography with a sound that evolves from album to album. Misfits and outcasts everywhere continue to find comfort in the band’s work.
If You Like My Chemical Romance, You May Like…
The music of My Chemical Romance establishes an obvious connection to many seminal punk (particularly those of the gothic rock subgenre), indie rock, and heavy metal bands and artists. Members of MCR have cited their influences as Black Flag, Misfits, Iron Maiden, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths, and The Smashing Pumpkins.
Furthermore, lead lyricist Gerard Way drew a lot of inspiration from the song stylings of legendary act Queen.
Bands like My Chemical Romance traditionally showcase expressive, disenfranchised lyrics. Melodic guitar riffs and forays into pop-style beats and catchy choruses are also indicative of groups similar to MCR, such as:
- Fall Out Boy
- Green Day
- All Time Low
- Thirty Seconds to Mars
Fans may also enjoy the music of Avenged Sevenfold, Alkaline Trio, The Used, Rise Against, Muse, and Taking Back Sunday, as they all sound like My Chemical Romance in certain regards.
My Chemical Romance cycled through many talented musicians during their time as a band. Though the primary members didn’t change too often, injuries were frequent and the group had to bring on temporary players for touring.
The band was formed by lead vocalist and songwriter Gerard Way and drummer and percussionist Matt Pelissier shortly after the national tragedy of September 11, 2001. The final lineup included Way; lead guitarist and backing vocalist Ray Toro; bassist and younger brother of Gerard, Mikey Way; rhythm guitar and backing vocalist Frank Lero; and keyboardist, backing vocalist, and percussionist James Dewees.
After witnessing the World Trade Center towers falling, Gerard Way decided to cope by starting a band. The song “Skylines and Turnstiles,” from their first album, is a musical account of Way’s feelings regarding the event. A mere three months after gaining all of their initial members, MCR recorded their debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, in 2002 with the indie record label Eyeball Records.
Before the release of their second album in 2004, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, the band signed with a major label, Reprise Records. The singles released leading up to the album drop enjoyed popularity and set up the success of the record, which eventually gained platinum status.
MCR then took time to tour, opening for Green Day on their American Idiot tour and co-headlining with Fall Out Boy at Warped Tour 2005. Preceding the release of their third full-length album, My Chemical Romance produced a couple of documentaries both following their life on the road and documenting their experiences as a band gaining mainstream popularity.
Their third album, The Black Parade, brought the opportunity for a more theatrical live style. The members of the group dressed in black marching band uniforms for performances, and Way pranced around the stage, playing the part of the conductor. This era in the band’s style, as well as the album itself, is especially well-loved by fans.
The final, full-length album was released in 2010 and saw a maturation in the group’s sound. Six months before the album dropped, MCR parted ways with their drummer, and approximately a year after the album release, the replacement was caught stealing from the band.
In the time between the promotional tour for Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys and the band’s split on March 25, 2014, the group released two new songs every month over the course of five months. This slew of My Chemical Romance songs was later titled Conventional Weapons sessions.
MCR’s last hurrah was their collection of greatest hits aptly titled May Death Never Stop You.
Over the course of their discography, My Chemical Romance’s sound developed from raw, poorly produced garage rock to synth-laced pop rock. Along the way, the band dabbled in punk musical elements like fast tempos, frequent chord changes, and heavy guitar.
Additionally, MCR explored the post-hardcore genre with yelled vocalizations and emotionally-charged, energized music. Throughout the band’s history, though, the lyrics have been a constant string of angry ranting, self-hatred, disillusionment with society, and fear of failure.
Way’s lyrics have created many an anthem for the hormone-riddled, misunderstood teens of past generations as well as those to come.
- I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002) – Their debut earned the band a dedicated underground following and is unofficially regarded as a concept album that follows the story of two Bonnie and Clyde-esque characters.
- Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004) – Went platinum in just over a year, earning the group mainstream recognition. Features popular singles “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and “Helena.”
- The Black Parade (2006) – Ranked number 20 on the Rolling Stone’s list of top 50 albums of 2006. The single “Welcome to the Black Parade” soared to the number one spot on the UK singles chart.
- Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2010) – A concept album following four rebellious rogues as they battle a nefarious corporation in post-apocalyptic California set in the year 2019. The album topped Billboard’s Rock Albums and Alternative Albums charts.
- May Death Never Stop You (2014) – A greatest hits collection released after the band’s break-up. The album features one previously unreleased track, “Fake Your Death.”