Cultures Music

The Black Parade Album Ranked

2021 marks two anniversaries: it’s been 20 years since the formation of Emo legends My Chemical Romance and 15 since they released their grand rock opera ‘The Black Parade’ in all its macabre glory. I grew up watching Kerrang and Scuzz on a Saturday morning with my brother, so like many others the band have a place in my heart. To mark this very special year, I thought I would rank all the songs on ‘The Black Parade’. No doubt my choices will be controversial but with rankings based on categories such as bop-ability, iconicity and being an overall banger, here is my ranking of the tracks from ‘The Black Parade’

13) Sleep

I think I need a disclaimer here – I don’t think ‘Sleep’ is a bad song, just not a great one. It has neither the catchy energetic emo drive nor the slower, truly emotional lyrics that the rest of the album has; I always forget it exists on the album and I get the terrible desire to skip it – eek. 

12) This Is How I Disappear

I’m actually really sad that this song appears so low on the list, which just shows what an album this truly is. I have grown to like this song more over the recent years, yet when compared with other songs on the album it doesn’t have the bop-quality that the others have. 

11) Cancer

What a Debbie Downer of a song. Regardless, despite loving the raw emotions of the song when I was younger, I find the lyrics a bit too hard hitting now. Nonetheless, it’s a much-needed grounding and quiet moment in the album.

10) I Don’t Love You

I think this is such a good song; the lyrics are super catchy and it just works. However, as with the issue of many songs at the bottom of the list, it doesn’t make you want to cry in the corner or participate in your single person mosh pit as much as the others. 

9) The Sharpest Lives

I really enjoy the song’s brilliant pre-chorus which leads up well to a perfect head banging moment. Where it is lacking, however, is clear in the fact that it isn’t one of MCR’s famous songs, it isn’t very memorable and emotionally grabbing.

8) Teenagers

Here’s a song which is up this high purely because of its iconicity. While not a dull song, it simply hugely exposes MCR’s target audience and successfully makes an anthem for this misfit emo generation. I think it’s just too on the nose for me. 

7) Mama

This song is such a jaunty tune – perfect for shrugging your shoulders in time. This was a favourite of mine when I was younger, and I feel like it has stood the test of time. It’s super fun to sing along to also – lots of opportunities to do funny voices. 

6) Disenchanted

It surprised me how high this song ended up; we are finding the album’s slower quieter songs end up further down my list. However, the pre-chorus is unbelievably good to listen to. There’s a finality to it and it really fits at as the penultimate song on the album.

5) The End.

From the end songs of the album to the opening. I feel the song really sets the tone and pace for the album; it is a blend of loud guitar souls and quieter moments, Gerard Way’s shout-singing and melodic voice all connected by the theme and poignancy of death. Overall, such a great start. 

4) House of Wolves

Now we are getting to the real big guys. I love this song: the lyrics and melody are catchy and it’s such a fun song to bounce around to. Side note: does anyone else think it sounds very similar to the Would I Lie To You theme?

3) Dead!

I said ‘The End.’ was a great start to the album, but having ‘Dead!’ as the second track shows how fun this album can be. The song has catchy lyrics and a strong drumbeat that invigorates you and makes you want to bounce about your room.

2) Famous Last Words

What an emotional way to end an album. The opening lines are sung by Gerard Way in such a vulnerable way that it seems so true and personal which builds into this thunderingly loud guitar and drum heavy anthem. In an album about death, I think it’s quite touching to end on the lyrics of ‘I am not afraid to keep on living’. 

1) Welcome To The Black Parade

Could really any other song be in first spot? ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ is one of the fundamental songs of the Emo scene and so formative for the genre. I think it should be commended that it is recognisable to all fans by just one note- that is some achievement of iconicity. 

*Bonus Track* ‘Blood’

A bonus ranking for a hidden track. It’s fun, quirky and macabre – showing us all it’s very important to not take ourselves too seriously.

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