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Music / The Black Parade

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"When I grow up, I want to be nothing at all!"
When I was a young boy
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band
He said, "Son, when you grow up
Would you be the savior of the broken,
The beaten and the damned?"
He said, "Will you defeat them,
Your demons and all the non-believers,
The plans that they have made?
Because one day, I'll leave you
A phantom to lead you in the summer
To join the Black Parade."
— "Welcome to the Black Parade"

The Black Parade is the third studio album by Alternative Rock band My Chemical Romance, released on October 23, 2006. A Rock Opera/Concept Album, it tells the story of a terminally ill cancer patient (known simply as "The Patient") and the final thoughts and visions that go through his head as he lies dying in a hospital.

When death arrives for the Patient, it appears to him as a parade, recalling the fondest memory he has of his past (outlined in the lyrics of the page quote). This was based on an idea that singer Gerard Way had at the time of the album's production that death came to a person in the form of their fondest memory, and a parade was chosen as it could be used for both funerals and celebrations. The concept was also extended into the album's visuals through the creation of the alter-ego band The Black Parade, which the band performed as when playing the album live.

With a grandiose epic sound influenced by Emo, Progressive Rock, Pop Punk, Post-Hardcore, and Glam Rock, The Black Parade gained the attention of a larger audience than the band's earlier releases and was featured in several lists of the best albums of 2006 as well as the 2000s.


  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" (4:39)
  10. "Sleep" (4:43)
  11. "Teenagers" (2:41)
  12. "Disenchanted" (4:55)
  13. "Famous Last Words" (4:59)
  14. "Blood" (2:53)

House of Tropes:

  • Album Closure: The last official track is called "Famous Last Words," referencing the Dying Speech trope. And then there's the Hidden Track, a baroque radical departure from the rest of the album's sound.
  • Ambiguous Ending: There's two endings to the album due to the music video and studio version of "Famous Last Words": The album version of the song (that ends with a subtle orchestra outro) implies the Patient goes off to Heaven while the music video version (with the usual rock ending) is him going to Hell.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Mother War, a character who appears in the "Welcome to the Black Parade" video and represents the self-destruction of humanity.
  • Auto-Tune: Subtly used in "Cancer".
  • Careful with That Axe: "Just SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!"
  • Chiaroscuro: Pretty much the entire aesthetic of this record. Taken up to eleven in the music video for "Famous Last Words."
  • Concept Album: See the description above, but the context is the same: A man known as the Patient is dying from cancer and when Death comes for him, it takes the form of his fondest memory: a parade.
  • Crapsack World: The afterlife, as portrayed here, isn't very pretty. Neither is the world the Patient has left behind.
  • Cue Card Pause: Created by a line break in "The Sharpest Lives":
    So why don't you blow me . . .
    A kiss before she goes?
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Several songs imply that the Patient was a soldier, and is still haunted by it.
  • Darker and Edgier: While My Chemical Romance had already written some dark songs, this was arguably their darkest album, with themes of war, death, and heavy angst.
  • Deadly Euphemism: To "join the Black Parade".
  • Dem Bones: The little fellow on the album cover, and some skeletal musicians who are a part of the parade.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The WTTBP music video set looks very eerily like Ground Zero.
  • Dying Dream: Focuses on The Patient's dreams and memories as he dies.
  • The End: The title of the opening track.
  • Epic Rocking: "Welcome to the Black Parade", which stretches to 5:11 and switches styles about three times.
  • Good-Times Montage: Disenchanted plays like a musical one, with the lyrics at several points having the feel of memories revisited, remembering the better times in his life as he comes to terms with the bad parts.
  • Gothic Punk: Plays as some kind of emo, Burton-esque 1970s rock opera.
    • The Patient fits Gothic tropes by being a flawed hero who recognizes his horrible faults on death's door and is thus unable to make peace with his former lover and his mother. In "Disenchanted", he ultimately makes peace with himself and dies in a penitent state, in the grand tradition of the tragic hero.
  • Hidden Track: "Blood" begins after a minute and a half of silence.
  • Iris Out: The music video for "Welcome to the Black Parade" has a rather persistent one, which keeps on trying to end the video.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: "No one ever had much nice to say / I think they never liked you anyway"—not a pleasant line to hear when you've just kicked the bucket.
  • Large Ham: This album isn't so much "over the top" as it is "not on the planet any more"—and deliciously so.
    • Gerard Way's performances, both vocally and in the videos. Not even a minute and a half into the album, he seems to plunge into some sort of emo-boy seizure with "When I grow up, I want to be NOTHING AT ALL!"
  • Last Note Nightmare: "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.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Teenagers" and "Famous Last Words".
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Dead!", whose main chorus line is "Have you heard the news that you're dead?" set to incredibly upbeat, almost jaunty music.
    • "Mama" is a bouncy, baroque piece with a simple tune . . . about how War Is Hell and everyone the singer knows is about to die.
    • This pattern is inverted at the end of "Famous Last Words", which goes out on a surprisingly hopeful note.
    • The lyrically gruesome "Blood" is a fun little vaudeville-esque track that's almost impossible not to sing along to (with Gerard hamming it up as usual).
  • Made of Explodium: Apparently every instrument and amp in the "I Don't Love You" music video.
  • Mood Whiplash: The intense, thrashy "House of Wolves" is followed by "Cancer", which is followed by the frankly bizarre "Mama".
  • No Name Given: The Patient.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Gas Mask: Specifically in the music video for Welcome To The Black Parade. Mother War is also depicted in a Victorian-esque dress and a gasmask.
  • Power Pop: The genre of "Dead!", as an homage to Cheap Trick, Electric Light Orchestra, and The Cars.
  • Production Throwback: "House of Wolves" is a nostalgic return to their old sound circa Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.
  • Progressive Rock: A big influence on the album, along with Glam Rock.
  • Rock Opera: The album tells the story of an unnamed dying cancer patient and his experiences in the afterlife as he encounters various spirits and memories.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "The End" smash cuts right into "Dead!".
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: MCR was criticized for attempting to rise above their station with this album, as it was apparently too good.
  • Teen Hater: The song "Teenagers" features the chorus about how "all teenagers scare the livin' shit out of" the singer, and is about negative stereotypes of teenagers in general, based on the singer's negative high school experience and how he was judged by adults during his teens.
  • Teens Are Monsters: "Teenagers" plays this sarcastically (while the verses make it clear that adults are the real monsters).
    They could care less
    As long as someone'll bleed
  • Title Track: "Welcome to the Black Parade".
  • War Is Hell: "Mama", a darkly hyper-operatic track that deals with the horrors of war.
    Well mother, what the war did to my legs and to my tongue
    You should've raised a baby girl, I should've been a better son
    If you could coddle the infection, they can amputate at once
    You should've been, I could have been a better son
  • Your Days Are Numbered:
    • The second track states that the Patient has "maybe just two weeks to live".
    • In "Mama", it's stated "raise your glass high, for tomorrow we die".
  • You Won't Feel a Thing!: "Disenchanted":
    It was a lie when they smiled and said you won't feel a thing