- I am not afraid to walk this world alone.
An American alternative rock band, often used as a prime example of the emo genre (but don't tell them that— also, that's not a bad thing). Their music is best described as a mixture of Post-Hardcore, Pop Punk accessibility, horror-punk influenced lyrics and stylings, and a heaping dose of over the top theatrics and album rock storytelling straight out of the 1970's (all of this presented with the look of a Goth Rock band). They formed in New Jersey around late 2001 with their first song, "Skylines and Turnstiles." The band claims that the theme and style of their music was initially inspired by their feelings during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The band has a notoriously bad Broken Base. Enter at your own risk, but don't let that distract from the crazy-awesome music.
They released their debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love in 2002, combining elements of Hardcore Punk, Post-Hardcore, and Emo. Its lead single "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" became a hit on college radio.
Their 2004 sophomore album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge proved to be their breakthrough release, spurred on by the success of the singles "Helena" and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)". It is now viewed as a key album of the early 2000s Emo scene with its theatrical sound, gothic aesthetics, and powerful mix of post-hardcore aggression and strongly crafted songs.
In 2006, drawing on their love of Pink Floyd's progressive rock and glam rock bands such as Queen and T.Rex, they combined these influences with their old post-hardcore sound to create what is considered their defining work, titled The Black Parade. While most popular rock bands in 2006 were focused on being raw and garage influenced, The Black Parade was intentionally bombastic and excessive, reflecting the 70s rock bands that Gerard Way loved and the hip, indie establishment treated with disdain. Throw in its rock opera storyline of a dying cancer patient and his experiences in the afterlife and you have a 1970s album brought to life in the twenty-first century. The album proved to be a critical and commercial success, with several review sites and magazines placing it as one of the best albums of the decade.
Their final album, 2010's Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys divided the fanbase with its lighter sound and design. Other fans consider it an excellent album in its own right. Its sound is influenced by indie rock, dance-rock, pop punk, and Stooges era Garage rock. It also features a storyline, but this one is more frantic, enthusiastic, and exuberant than the morbid tragedy of the last.
Please don't confuse them with My Bloody Valentine, who are a British Shoegazing band who similarly have nothing to do with them, though Gerard admits inspired the "My" in their band name (the Chemical Romance part is a quote from the back of an Irvine Welsh novel). They were once the face of the Holy Emo Trinity, along with Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco.
- Gerard Way, lead singer.
- Ray Toro, lead guitar, backing vocals.
- Frank Iero, rhythm guitar.
- Mikey Way, bass.
- For the last couple of years, there was no permanent drummer (originally Matt Pelissier, then Bob Bryar, then Michael Pedicone as a touring drummer until September 2, 2011, whose replacement was Jarrod Alexander for the remainder of the band's run).
- James Dewees joined as the band's keyboardist on their final album.
- I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002)
- Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004)
- The Black Parade (2006)
- Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2010)
- Conventional Weapons (2013)
- May Death Never Stop You (2014)
- Life on the Murder Scene (2006)
- The Black Parade is Dead (2008)
Tropes featured by My Chemical Romance:
- Adorkable: All of them to varying degrees, but comic-book-loving Gerard is a prime example, and so is cup-cake-baking Ray.
- Ascended Extra / 11th-Hour Ranger: James Dewees, who was the band's touring keyboardist since The Black Parade era became a full-time member in 2012... And then the band split up a year later. His only appearance as a member is their final single "Fake Your Death".
- Atomic F-Bomb: Whenever Gerard opens his mouth on stage. Frank drops some as well.
- Attractive Zombie: The music video "Helena" has a beautiful zombie girl dancing in her own funeral.
- Auto-Tune: In the bridge of "The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You". Also used much more subtly in "Cancer".
- Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: The cover of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and Life on the Murder Scene. It's a lot easier to tell that it's a wedding dress on the latter.
- The single version of "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" changes the line "I'm not o-fucking-kay" to "I'm really not okay".
- Their second album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge features a song, which is titled "It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Deathwish" on the back cover, but "It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Fucking Deathwish" on the disc itself, as well as in the lyric sheet.
- Careful with That Axe: From Gerard, Frank and sometimes guest singers.
- "just SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!"
- "You're just a ghost, so I can't hurt you anymore - SO I CAN'T HURT YOU ANYMOOOOOOOOOORRRRAAAAAAAAAHH!!"
- ''"LET ME GO, FUCK!"
- "I'm ok...I'm o-KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!"
- "And if they get me take this spike, and...YOU PUT THE SPIKE IN MY HEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAART!"
- Cluster F-Bomb: "Our Lady of Sorrows." Full Stop.
- Concept Album: Each of their albums have an intricate back-story and concept behind it.
- This is especially true for The Black Parade, a Rock Opera about the final moments of a dying cancer patient and eventual death. When death comes for him, it takes the form of his fondest memory, which is a parade that he saw as a child. Plenty of NightmareFuel in this one.
- Danger Days is the story of the Killjoys, a group of outlaws in a post-apocalypic version of Calfornia who fight against the rule of an evil cooperation known as BL/ind.
- Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge is meant to be about a man and a woman who are separated by death. He goes to hell, while she is still alive. The man makes a deal with the devil that he will be allowed to leave hell and be with her again once he collects the souls of a thousand evil men. The record ended up being more about themes of loss, based on experiences that the band were going through while recording the album
- Concept Video: Most, if not all of them. Their most popular being "Im Not Okay (I Promise)" made to look like a movie trailer and "Welcome To The Black Parade," which sums up the plot of the album it comes from in about four minutes.
- Cover Version: The band has done several of these. Examples include:
- Creepy Child: Gerard often takes on this persona and especially seems to be channeling this in the live version of "Mama" at the iTunes Festival: London 2011 where he says this little gem:(raises his arms and smiles) Mama! Up.
- Dies Wide Open: Mikey in the music video for "The Ghost of You".
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: This is the anti-piracy warning on the back of "I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love":Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws and will result in Gerard coming to your house and sucking your blood.
- Dissonant Serenity: Crops up a lot, often in the middle of an otherwise very hardcore song. The instrumental will suddenly cut to gentle piano or strings and Gerard will start crooning, the new vocal style utterly at odds with the dark/nihilistic/violent words he's singing. However, this is a sure sign that the song is going to explode back to life in a few bars' time, even more loudly and aggressively than before.
- Documentary Episode: Life on the Murder Scene.
- Dye or Be Recognized at Comic Con. Apparently, the blonde hair at the 2010 SDCC was Gerard's "costume" so he could buy He-Man action figures in peace.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Gerard, when he isn't busy dyeing his hair electric-white or some ridiculously loud shade of pink or red. Mikey, to an extent.
- Dying Alone: "Cubicles" mentions this in the chorus.
- Emo: Although the band would disagree, they do have a lot in common with classic/post-hardcore emo. While some people will claim otherwise, they aren't really emo-pop since they have too much of a Hardcore Punk influence to really be an emo pop band. In addition they were an important band in the early 2000's post-hardcore scene along with Thursday and AFI.
- Even the Guys Want Him: All of them to an extent. Gerard, in particular, attracts this a lot.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville", which doubles as a Shout-Out to Dawn of the Dead (1978).
- Fading into the Next Song: "Helena" -> "Give 'em Hell, Kid", "The Ghost of You" -> "The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You", "The End." -> "Dead".
- Fanservice: Unintentionally. Word of God says a lot of that (such as the "Frerard" gimmick) is done to piss people off, which is why a lot of that stopped after they figured out people were into it.
- Glamorous War Time Singer: My Chemical Romance as a WWII army band in “The Ghost of You.”
- Gratuitous Panning: Destroya.
- He Cleans Up Nicely: The entire band in the video for “The Ghost of You” but especially Gerard Way- not that he isn't very pretty when he has wild hair and Guyliner but as a fresh-faced WWII Army sergeant rocking an Elvis-style pompadour, he is undeniably hot.
- Iconic Item: Feathered boas, striped ties, the leather jacket (that'll turn your stomach), the bat belt buckle from Life on the Murder Scene... Coffee and cigarettes might even count with this band.
- Mikey's now-departed glasses.
- Likewise, Frank's departed guitar Pansy.
- Improvised Weapon: Towards the end of the "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" video, the band is squaring off against the jocks. Their weapon of choice? Croquet mallets.
- Nintendo Power Gloves and Zappers are the weapon of choice in 2019.
- Iris Out: Welcome to the Black Parade contains a rather persistent one, which keeps on trying to end the video.
- Jerk Jock: The apparent "enemy" in the "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" video.
- Jump Physics: A live show will make you wonder if they've harnessed some kind of ability to alter this.
- Kaleidoscope Hair: Gerard has changed his hair a lot. He's had it black, bleached blond and cut short, then long and bright red for Danger Days.
- Keet: Frank fucking Iero. You could get tired just watching him jump around at concerts.
- Large Ham: Gerard owns this trope and then some. If he were an actor, he'd constantly have a belly full of scenery.
- Last Note Nightmare : One of the worst offenders, Sleep, ends with a rapid succession of long, tortured, raspy screams that only increase in volume and anguish as the guitars screech, and boy does it add to the creepiness of it all. To be fair, the song is inspired by a series of vivid night terrors.
- Pretty Boy: Gerard, and he loves how confusing it can be.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The songs that aren't Tear Jerkers have Crazy Awesome music that you can't get out of your head, set to lyrics that sometimes induce squick or Nightmare Fuel when you actually listen.
"That's what happens when you're all borderline psychotic and therein lies the beauty of this band - our duality. There's a duality to each band member too. There's a desire to have this constant conflict. If we write a write a song and it turns out really poppy, we have to make the lyrics really fucked up. There's psychosis to everything we do for sure. One day we're probably gonna write this number one pop tune that will be about a massacre!"
- Example: Headfirst for Halos. A rather upbeat song until you listen to the lyrics. "I think I've blown my brains against the ceiling. And as the fragments of my skull begin to fall, fall on your tongue, like pixie dust..."
- One of Gerard's quotes are:
- "Teenagers" is a cheery sounding song about how Teens Are Monsters and how that leads the POV character to implicitly shoot up the school.
- Mad Artist: Some people consider Gerard to be a not-so-villainous version of this.
- Mind Screw: The video for "I Don't Love You".
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: 6-7 for Bullets, (though, "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville" drops to a 3) 5-6 for Three Cheers, ("Hang 'Em High" is a 7) 4-6 for Black Parade ("Cancer" is a 2) and 3-6 for Danger Days. Overall, the band is a 5-6.
- Mood Whiplash: More common in the live shows and the actual albums, although The Black Parade comes to mind as an offender. "House of Wolves" is followed by "Cancer" is followed by "Mama".
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant
- Ode to Youth: "Sing"
- One-Woman Song: Helena.
- "Mama" might also qualify.
- Only Sane Man: Bob was this before leaving compared to the rest of the guys along with Mikey. With his departure, it seems Mikey's taken this over a little.
- Our Vampires Are Different: "Vampires Will Never Hurt You". Might contain a bit of The Dead Can Dance, as one verse refers to the vampires hanging out at a nightclub.
- Draculoids! Which are not really vampires. Just mooks in Halloween masks.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: "I'm Not Okay" sounds like a Jimmy Eat World, Fall Out Boy, or Get Up Kids style Pop Punk-influenced Emo song, in contrast to the rest of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge which veers closer to Post-Hardcore and classic Emo.
- Precision F-Strike: Played straight in the case of Three Cheers of Sweet Revenge, where "fuck" is only heard twice in the whole album. (It still got a Parental Warning sticker.)
- Also happens in individual songs, like Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back, which has one loud F-bomb in the middle.
- Porn Stache: Frank sports one sometimes.
- Prison Rape: "You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us In Prison", which seems to be a subversion of Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male. The laughter at the end is the singer going insane and threatening to burn down a hotel.
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The basic theme of the "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" video.
- Rock Opera: The Black Parade.
- "Sesame Street" Cred: They appeared on a Christmas episode of Yo Gabba Gabba! (billed as "MCR").
- Ship Tease: Tended to be a staple of live shows. Became most prevalent during the 2007 Projekt Revolution tour, where it was apparently done to make a statement against homophobia.
- Shout-Out: A fair number of their songs contain references to other things.
"For what you did to me, for what I'll do to you, you get what everyone else gets—you get a lifetime!" note
- "Vampire Money" is gosh darn full of it. The song was written in response to the band's choice to not write a song for the Twilight movies, David Bowie and Mark Bolan get a shout out and the opening is almost a perfect copy of "Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet.
- "It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Death Wish" paraphrases one of Death's most famous quotes from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman:
- "Destroya" is possibly a reference to the Destoroyah monster in the Godzilla-franchise film Godzilla vs. Destroroyah.
- Shot-for-Shot Remake: "The Ghost Of You"'s music video closely imitates Saving Private Ryan's Omaha Beach scene.
- Slouch of Villainy: Averted. Gerard just has really bad posture, but he's far from villainous.
- Something We Forgot: Ray Toro has, according to him and other members of the band, been left at truck stops by accident while on tour.
- The fandom sometimes seems to forget that Mikey exists.
- Take That!: "Vampire Money" is a pretty snarky one directed at Twilight. Specifically, it takes the mickey at artists who contribute songs to the film franchise's soundtrack, written after they were asked to do a song for one of the films and refused.
- Title-Only Chorus: DESTROYA, DESTROYA, DESTROYA, DESTROYA...
- War Is Hell: "Mama" and "Ghost of You."
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Gerard killing a Draculoid in the "SING!" video, having a 'wait a second I just killed that guy moment' (because he removed the Drac's mask), and this leads to Gerard getting killed — it's seen even better in the Director's Cut.
- When He Smiles: Ray Toro, the lead guitarist with the 'fro, is not considered as good looking as his bandmates, but with his full lips and million dollar smile, everything seems to light up. Ray of sunshine, indeed.
- For further consideration, pause at 3:31. It's contagious.
- Whole Plot Reference: Their Music Video for their song "Honey, This Mirror Isn't Big Enough for the Two of Us" recounts the plot of the movie Audition, interspersed with clips of them playing.
- So long, and goodnight.