Sound — 9
The Black Parade shows MCR flinging themselves into a strange spin-off of psychobilly, convincing a lot of prejudiced rock fans that they are in fact quite different to the emo bands with whom they write, develop and perform alongside. Their quirky side shows through more than ever after desperately trying to reveal itself ever since 'Headfirst for Halos.' The album compiles a balance of fun, upbeat songs such as 'Teenagers, ' to heartfelt ballads (see 'I Don't Love You.') all with the underlying sinister tones that can only be found in a My Chemical Romance album. MCR have come a long way from their mash of whining and screeching sounds heard on 'I Brought You My Bullets...'
Lyrics — 8
Undoubtedly Ray Toro's soaring solos leave you in some sense of awe after listening, though the same C# minor chord sequence drones in almost every chorus cause the less patient of us to get bored and skip on. Tracks such as 'The Sharpest Lives' and 'Sleep' fade into an indistinguishable noise of down-up-down-up strumming and Gerard's gravelly yelling. Their intros, however, remain at their most innovative, combining rockabilly, metal, the blues and even a polka into some strange mixture of alternative rock that would be insane to class as emo. Gerard's lyrics have never been poetic, but 'The Black Parade' shows his writing at its quaintest yet, and whist the lyrics themselves may not be something terribly special in every song, even the plainest lines like 'I don't love you like I did yesterday' ('I Don't Love You') are made so much more powerful when belted out to a classic rock love-song tune. Gerard's voice had matured; tuneless wailing replaced by lung-collapsing, gritty shouting and other impressive vocal techniques that seem to last a whole outro (see 'Mama').
Overall Impression — 9
Compared to the emo scene at the moment, MCR seem to be the first to realise that originality is the key to a good record. The one thing, however, that really annoys me is the horrible dischord in 'The End' at about 56 seconds in. If deliberate, for me, they did not pull that off. On the overall mood of the album, I only have one thing to say, and it's 'lighten up.' The fixation with death does seem a bit dark, but then, it is My Chemical Romance. I'll rate it at a 9 for the boring tracks, but no one's going to like everything on the album. But if you don't like 'Mama,' you've got problems.