Album review: Break out the skinny jeans and eyeliner, it’s 2006 again

My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade” is being reissued, Fall Out Boy has something in the works and Panic! At the Disco is touring. It’s like middle school all over again, without the puberty.

Rock Sound revealed their plans to celebrate this year’s anniversary of “The Black Parade:” a tribute album, which includes a weird lineup of bands including New Years Day and Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, who are both more hardcore than emo.

I think Rock Sound skipped over a great opportunity here to include more traditionally emo bands, especially given that MCR was so influential in the development of the emo scene. They could’ve done a real throwback and featured Fall Out Boy or Panic! at the Disco, the two other bands that made up the mid-2000’s “emo trinity.”

The best band choices on the album were Moose Blood and Twenty One Pilots. I’ve talked before about how Moose Blood is bringing emo back and, more than any other band on the scene today, Twenty One Pilots is exactly the kind of Hot Topic emo that MCR was in their golden days. However, the songs they chose to cover could have been better.

Twenty One Pilots covered “Cancer,” one of the slower songs on the album. Tyler Joseph’s voice comes in soft, immediately lending emotion to the song. I think if he had kept with the almost acoustic style the song started off with, it would have been perfect. However, the band started mixing the chorus, adding synth and loops which detracted from the overall somber feeling of the song. While I can’t fault them for adding their unique style to the cover, I feel it would have worked better with a song like “Sleep,” which still has great vocal and piano parts (right up Joseph’s alley), and has a greater potential for the kind of mixing that Twenty One Pilots is known for.

Another miss is Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!’s cover of “Disenchanted.” The instrumentation is good, but the lead singer sounds like he’s desperately trying to scream but can’t quite get there, given the downbeat tempo of the song, and so it just comes across like he’s choking.

All that in mind, the album isn’t all bad. Asking Alexandria and Escape the Fate both have covers that are true to MCR’s sound, while still giving it their own touch. New Years Day sticks to the original feeling of “Sleep,” but I think the song choice doesn’t do Ashley Costello’s voice as much justice as a faster song, like “This is How I Disappear” or “Sharpest Lives” would have.

Ultimately, the album is worth a listen. Of course, if you’re an MCR fan it won’t be anywhere near the original, so you might want to just stick with the reissue of “The Black Parade” Warner Brothers released Sept. 23.

Top Track: “Dead” covered by Escape the Fate or “Famous Last Words” covered by Asking Alexandria
Grade: C+
Verdict: As a devout MCR fan, I can understand why Rock Sound wanted to put out a tribute album. However, this album doesn’t capture the sound that made “Black Parade” iconic in the first place. I’d say it was a cash grab, if Rock Sound was charging for the CDs.

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