In October of 2006, My Chemical Romance released their third album entitled The Black Parade. With the new album came their first number one hit “Welcome to the Black Parade”, over three million copies sold worldwide, and the vast popularity they had been moving towards for five years. Millions of fans couldn’t get enough of the band and they were smacking their lips for the next entry.
But what if it had ended there? What if My Chemical Romance released the biggest commercial success of their career and then swiftly dissolved? According to front man Gerard Way’s recent interview with Rolling Stone, that was exactly what was meant to happen.
“I plan things pretty far in advance, and before we’d even done the first record, I’d written out titles of things,” Way stated yesterday to the Magazine. “I definitely knew I had the title of the second album before we’d even recorded the first… by the time I got to the third album, which didn’t have a name, I felt like that was the end. Basically the time spent after Black Parade was me fighting against that instinct, fighting against myself. The end of Black Parade felt like a very natural end. To go beyond that felt like betraying some sort of artistic command that I had within myself.”
So there it is. Everything that came after Black Parade was never meant to happen. What exactly would we have missed out on? Well, we would have unfortunately lost the hit single “Sing” off their 2010 follow-up Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. We would also be without the band’s wonderful cover of “Desolation Row” for the Watchmen end credits.
Conversely, we would have been spared four consecutive years of The Black Parade rereleases and live concert recordings that overexposed the music into oblivion. The EP Live and Rare (2007), the redundantly titled live album The Black Parade is Dead (2008), The Black Parade: The B-Sides (2009, with only 3 out of 5 being unused tracks), and two different video albums were senselessly churned out in a span of three years. The sword had swung the other way. Original fans either grew tired or extremely radical while those who were already annoyed with My Chemical Romance became violently critical.
All in all, there would be a few small tragedies were My Chemical Romance to have followed the plan and gone their separate ways in 2006, but it would have preserved their greatest work as oppose to letting it be rammed down the throats of listeners for a good half decade. What’s more, a 2006 breakup would have made The Black Parade the final third in a trilogy of albums that had all begun when Way witnessed the September 11th attacks and scribbled down his rage in the form of music. To end their career five years after the tragic event that brought them together would have been an ending filled with the dark poetry the band is known for.
Since the band’s official split last year Way has begun a solo career of his own, citing Nic Cave, David Bowie, and Iggy Pop as a few of his influences. Perhaps the next few years will show us what solo work would have been produced after 2006 had Way stuck to his instincts.