Sound — 9
What matters about the music behind My Chemical Romance's "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge" is not really who influenced it but why people like it. I guarantee that part of the reason the band has recently become such a fan favourite is their aural diversity. From hard electric guitar lines to mellow, piano-like rifts (like those they use in Ghost Of You), this disc uses the talents the guitarist to nearly their full measure. The variation between components is also attractive. Careful listening to the guitar lines will show that they rarely reuse precisely same sequence over and over and over again within the verses of a song. The variations are subtle but they keep things interesting. And I know Bob Bryar's drumming has been called bland, but it moves the songs along at an appropriate pace without ever getting bothersome or dull. Variation is everybody's friend. On this album My Chemical Romance borrow from several popular genres (to remain blissfully unnamed) and even employ some Jazz. More of this well-focused musical schizophrenia would surely benefit the growth of the band. Since, for the most part, I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to musical technicalities but I still love it all, in this section I give "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge" the number of lives of a common housecat.
Lyrics — 8
One of the most refreshing aspects of this album (in comparison with 'the drabble') is the fiction. Take for example the band's favourite track "You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison" which boasts lyrics like "They all cheat at cards and the checkers are lost/My cellmate's a killer, they made me do push-ups (in drag)." It conjures up some interesting (and unusual) images, no? Although most of the songs don't feature such explicit story-lines it is not a detriment. They allow listeners a greater freedom of imagination than "You Bring Me Your Bullets, I Bring You My Love," their first album and run away with you your imagination will. The pop-punks of today are preoccupied with whining about fighting with their parents, not having any friends and not being able to get any. While shades of this show through especially in "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge" first single, the facetious high-school based "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)," the album revels in deeper, darker, more abstract qualities of human existence, especially through the use of morbid imagery. "Love is the red of the rose on your coffin door" (Thank You For The Venom). "The angels just cut out her tongue/Call her black Mariah" (Hang 'Em High). While sadly not as poetic or quotable as those of their first album, the lyrics of "Three Cheers" offer something thought provoking and just a little more real (if slightly allegorical). In "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge," vocalist Gerard Way really delivers, locked in a light-less attic with naught but a microphone (true story). To be serious, his vocals are slightly shaky but in a way that lends many tracks a heart-warming rawness, far improved from the last album's warbling, wavering yelps that were so abrasive that they left some bleeding from the ears. The occasional pitchy-ness on this disc is more additive than distracting. Gerard's voice is morose, amusing and irate in all the appropriate places, but it the emotion sometimes isn't as powerful as one would imagine it should be. That's something to improve upon the next go 'round, guys. Because I am a discriminating connoisseur of poetry and because I think this band has the potential to truly, truly impress me lyrically, for their sophomore effort I give them the square root of sixty-nine minus five (the number of good-looking group members).
Overall Impression — 10
Based on the song "Demolition Lovers" from their last album, "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge" began as a concept album about two lovers who die in a desert gunfight. However, as the band, itself, soon realized this album refuses to be confined to any specific dimensions. It lends itself well to whatever emotional anguish you may be facing at the moment, and ideal gift you your favourite brooding teenager or anyone who appreciates the darker side of life and humour. Label them however you choose; compare them to whom you will; My Chemical Romance creates for themselves in this album a genre of music that is subset into the "it" punk-pop-emo-hardcore-alternative-whatever that prevails in current American rock culture and yet isn't quite any of it. When it suits, they scream, croon, rock hard, rock soft and even giggle, yes, giggle. It's what makes this band so appealing: they, like so many of their fans, don't really fit in. In summation, I like chocolate muffins. And the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which is why I feel completely justified in awarding this album a fresh, crisp Hamilton for its much appreciated efforts.