My Chemical Romance captured our hearts in the early 2000s with their catalog of incredible concept records, from Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge to The Black Parade. The Black Parade was the emo kings’ third album starring the Patient, who is dying from cancer. That journey is told through flashbacks, death and the afterlife, making this record a hauntingly beautiful final chapter for the character it created.
The concept album masterpiece is arguably one of the greatest albums of our generation, showcasing both the ability and mind of frontman Gerard Way at his best, with added influence from some of the greatest rock icons to ever live.
Check out our list of songs from The Black Parade below, ranked from good to greatest.
The voice speaking at the beginning of this track is Way describing the night terrors that he experienced during the recording process of The Black Parade. Or it could be about the great sleep that awaits us all, in this case, the Patient. We’ve got a couple of questions, Gerard. Either way, this track definitely has its portion of the story to tell.
“Disenchanted” sees the Patient looking back at his life, noting that it started off all right, but he hated where he found himself now following his lifelong wait for a hospital stay. The haunting ache of Way’s vocals pulls the listener in, but the uniqueness can’t match some of the other tracks on the record.
This track dives into the merciless and malicious nature of teenagers through the eyes of someone who’s bullied. From name-calling to physical violence, the narrator explains why teenagers scare the livin’ shit out of him. An unfortunate tale as old as time, but this teenager didn’t age as gracefully as the rest of these deadly tracks.
10. “House Of Wolves”
“House Of Wolves” shows how the Patient is attempting to accept the fact that he’s doomed to hell and is now attempting several religious ideas to try to escape an eternity spent there, with a ragtime-inspired beat that offers the listener a distinct experience.
9. “This Is How I Disappear”
“This Is How I Disappear” sees the Patient reflecting back on his lost love and how without his partner, everything is meaningless with a sound that echoes Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.
8. “I Don’t Love You”
This evocative song tells a passionate love story between two people before the Patient gets into his own head and pushes his love away from him. The backward love song is still one of our favorites so many years later.
7. “The Sharpest Lives”
“The Sharpest Lives” sees the Patient making reckless choices to cope and not caring about the consequences. The melodic harmonies and throat-slicing vocals continue to make this track appealing but still not as much as the other songs that remain.
6. “The End.”
The eerie, bone-chilling beeps of an EKG machine echo at the beginning of this track, making it the perfect introduction song fit for the story of the Patient. “The End.” dives into the Patient’s funeral and all the fake, smiling friends who will be in attendance. The David Bowie-inspired track is as important as it is fantastic, earning it the sixth spot on our list.
5. “Famous Last Words”
The final track on The Black Parade isn’t afraid to keep on living all these years later. “Famous Last Words” proves that this album has stood the test of time thanks to the velvety-smooth solo from Ray Toro and another great sing-along chorus courtesy of Way. This song comes in at No. 5 to remind us that it’s OK to walk alone.
The Patient lays himself out on display for the listener, confirming he’s dying from cancer and his body is falling apart from the chemotherapy. With the likely future staring him in the face, the hardest part to grasp is leaving behind the one he loves most. The pure honesty and vulnerability of Way’s vocals match the lyrics pouring from his mouth in this moving song.
“Mama” opens with piercing cannon fire echoing in the distance, as the track seems to take the Patient to “war” as he writes a letter to his mother about the dark future that lays ahead of him. MCR enlisted veteran singer Liza Minnelli, whose vocals and cries can be heard throughout the track that’s drenched with Queen inspiration.
The slicing solo over the staccato guitar riffs in the introduction alone catapulted “Dead!” to No. 2 on our list. The second song from the album follows the opening song “The End.” perfectly, as if bleeding into one another. The lyrics reflect the Patient’s journey coming to a conclusion. Haven’t you heard the news?
1. “Welcome To The Black Parade”
Opening with arguably the most recognizable single piano key, “Welcome To The Black Parade” became an instant classic from that first G note. Rightfully so, as its iconic Queen-inspired dramatics and sound carried on for years and perfectly ended their return show in December. The rock opera sees a childhood flashback and the joining of the Black Parade, all told by the roller coaster of emotions reflecting from Way’s incredible vocals. This track gifted a new generation with its own version of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” crowning My Chemical Romance as one of the greatest of our time.
What was your favorite song from the album? Let us know in the comments below!