RAY TORO, “Look At You Now”
One of those moments from Laughter that pulls at your heartstrings and your eardrums. The slow-moving string section and backing vocals are a great launchpad for Toro to turn in a pretty great vocal performance, while celebrating someone close to him who rose above a lot of personal quagmire. It’s a million miles away from anything that MCR would do—which is the point—but then again, is it? Go buy it now.
ELECTRIC CENTURY, “Hail The Saints”
NOTE: This link isn’t official and there doesn’t seem to be one on YT
Another dose of electro-love from M-Way and Debiak, this time they take their love of pop and synthesizers and cross it with some classic rock signifiers. The result sounds like Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” remixed by the Chemical Brothers—and better than anything off that hellishly overrated LCD Soundsystem comeback LP. (You can @ me, bro, see if I fuk’n care.)
DEATH SPELLS, “Where Are My Fucking Pills?”
Death Spells is (was?) the electronic bad vibe-conjuring unit formed by guitarist Frank Iero and keyboardist James Dewees on the off-time during the making of MCR’s abandoned album. It was the first post-MCR project to see the light of day, with some touring opening for Mindless Self Indulgence, but it wasn’t until 2016 that DS’ debut, Nothing Above, Nothing Below, was brought into the world. The industrial/breakbeat vibe of “Where Are My Fucking Pills?” is weird, ugly and sometimes impenetrable, like chewing Pixy Stix laced with sand. Shut up, lick your teeth and turn it up.
FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE, “I’m A Mess”
The fact that Iero can be both a gateway drug for younger listeners and a staple for grizzled dudes who have seen more mosh pits than dates makes him the realest of the deals. This rave-up from the Parachutes LP is so positively life-affirming in it’s fucked-up-ness, it makes most of that stuff modified with the p-word as necessary as fidget spinners, mood rings and slap bracelets. The song you need when you want to beat the shit out of someone who did you wrong. While crying.
GERARD WAY, “How It’s Going To Be”
So many tracks to pick from Alien, but this reverb-soaked paean seems to the best way to end a list celebrating one of the planet’s most uncompromising bands. None of us were in the room when MCR made the decision to break up, but when Gerard sings, “And I wouldn’t lie/I never really wanted more/Than what I ever really needed after all,” you can’t help but feel his gang had nowhere they needed to go, their mission accomplished.