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Lead to Light
When My Chemical Romance released "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" on Reprise Records, it was a success. While the band had similarities to the likes of Thursday and AFI, they had something special about them. They had these huge-sounding dramatic themed songs that hadn't really been around in the mainstream since Queen. Not only were the songs on sweet revenge dramatic, they were good songs. Howard Benson did a phenomenal job producing the album, every track was polished and perfect, but it still maintained the coarseness of My Chemical Romance. "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" would have a follow up album, and the odds said it probably would flop, it didn't and it doesn't.
Late in 2006 My Chemical Romance released "The Black Parade", their second album on Reprise Records, and while Benson isn't in the producer's chair this time around, Rob Cavello does a capable job of filling in. Benson's production on sweet revenge was perfect; it allowed MCR's emo coarseness to shine on its own. Cavello's production isn't as polished as Benson's, it's rougher and edgier. One might think that this would take away from the band's sound and overshadow it a little bit, but it doesn't, it adds to it. "The Black Parade" tells the story of the patient, a man in a hospital bed dieing of cancer that's taking a retrospective look back on his life. These songs are even more dramatic than the songs on sweet revenge, and it's incredibly refreshing. These songs not only mean something, they were well-thought out when the music and the lyrics were written.
When My Chemical Romance sought to make this record they had goals in mind, and I think for the most part they achieved those goals. They upped the bar on the dramatic theme. They wrote an album that told a story. They implemented a choir, a marching band, and other dramatic themed elements that hadn't been used effectively in this generation. And they achieved this with the music getting better. This album is a major accomplishment for this band, and let's hope that this isn't a ceiling for them. Let's hope that this band takes another big step with a third album. This is one of the best follow up albums ever. If you don't have it, get it.