My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade (Stream, Lyrics & Meaning)
Prepare yourself to experience one of the most influential rock/punk/emo/pop infusions of the 21st Century. “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance (MCR) had the kind of cultural influence that no other song by the band had throughout their lifespan since 2001. Guitarist of MCR, Ray Toro, once told that “Welcome to the Black Parade” to My Chemical Romance is what “Bohemian Rhapsody” is to Queen. So, let us attempt to dissect the meaning of this epic track with an in-depth look into its award-winning music video.
“Welcome to the Black Parade” releases as the lead single of the third studio album, ‘The Black Parade,’ by the American rock collective My Chemical Romance. The single was released on September 12, 2006, and has not lost its appeal since.
“Welcome to the Black Parade” song was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s ‘500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll’ list. The Rolling Stones magazine named the track in their ‘100 Best Song of the Year’ list for the year 2006. The Time magazine, also, inducted the song into their ‘Top 10 Everything: Songs’ list for 2006.
There’s more. “Welcome to the Black Parade” became My Chemical Romance’s only top 10 Billboard Hot 100 charting single in the US. However, the single managed to climb to #1 on the UK Singles chart and stayed there for two weeks. The song was certified triple Platinum (over 3 million units sold) by RIAA in the USA by 2017.
Guitarist of My Chemical Romance, Ray Toro, speaks about their hit track quite fondly;
“(the song) is probably the most epic song on the record. I love how it came together. It’s a song that we had been writing since the start of the band, but it started out in a very different form.”
Watch the Music Video for “Welcome to the Black Parade”
The above music video was inducted to ’50 Greatest Music Videos of the 21st Century’ list by MTV in 2017. The video centres around a patient on his death bed at a hospital. As the doctors and nurses gather around him to comfort him as he passes on to the ‘other world,’ he is greeted by the Black Parade. The parade has the centrepiece of MCR performing the song, surrounded by a group of people in masks.
Download “Welcome to the Black Parade” Single on Apple Music and Amazon
In an interview for ‘The Black Parade’ album, MCR frontman, Gerard Way, spoke about the lead single and its influence throughout their new album; “It’s basically the one song that sounds up the song for the record and all the risks we took jammed into one mini-epic. And it still retains everything that made us special.” He also mentions that this song is his favourite track on the album.
Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “Welcome to the Black Parade” by MCR
After a bone-chilling solo piano melody, Gerard Way eases into his lyrics as the accompanying music grows and adds around him.
The song starts off with the singer recalling of a memory from his childhood. The singer’s father taking him to the city to see a marching band. This is a real-life extract from Gerard Way. He spoke about this in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine; “I have a really strong memory of my dad taking me and Mikey to a parade. I remember the big inflatable balloons, even the ones of cartoon characters I loved, were so imposing. So I wouldn’t say that was my happiest memory, but there’s something really cultural about a parade, which is why it became the perfect vehicle. It could represent a funeral procession, or the Day of the Dead or a celebration. For the album’s character (the patient), it’s what he wants death to be.“
The next lines recall a conversation between the young singer and his father. His father requests him to grow up a good human being, one who helps the less fortunate and misheard. The father also asks his son to defeat his own inner demons and fight against the non-believers. These lyrics contain a strong Christian message, as the father portrays the role of God, the son playing the role of Jesus and Satan being referred to as demons.
The father’s message continues as he says that one day he will come to pass and so will the son. On such a day, the father will leave him a ‘phantom’ to lead the son into heaven. Phantom in simple words is a ghost. With this, MCR cleverly completes the cycle of the Holy Trinity by mentioning the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit/Ghost.
The ‘black parade’ acts as the final send-off to this person into the afterlife. Everyone must join the black parade at some point in their lives.
The tone of the song changes completely with the shift to the first verse of the song. However, MCR retains the theme of the song.
In the first verse, Gerard mentions a ‘she’ who is watching over him. This ‘she’ could be a personification of death. Death is also portrayed in the music video with a female character wearing a metal dress and a gas mask. She is known as Mother War, a fictional character appearing in the MCR universe, to represent war and death.
The rest of the first verse sings about the calamities of life. Ups and downs and the rise and falls, through it all, we battle all odds on a daily basis. These lyrics end in a cliffhanger that is picked up from the chorus.
Continuing from the first verse, these lyrics proudly scream that we live on beyond death. How? Because, the memory of each and every one of us shall cherish in someone’s memory.
In many religions and philosophies around the world, death is not the end. It is merely a transference of your conscience into another dimension which is not graspable to the Earthly beings.
Watch MCR Perform “Welcome to the Black Parade” Live in Mexico
The feelings Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance wants to convey about carrying on with life, he can’t put into words. He says this anthem is not enough for him to blow energy into everyone’s life. But he is doing an excellent job trying.
Even more moral and energy is thrown at your way in the second verse of “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance!
No matter what the world throws at us, there shall be no giving up. Because in this world, you only have yourself. No one else will be able to buy your ticket of salvation or happiness. Live and let live. Your problems are not to be taken out on others, and vice versa. Defiant until the end of life and beyond, we scream proudly and we stand proudly. There is nobody who can take steal our free will and there is no one to say otherwise. In death and beyond, we shall carry our flags high and carry on!
In the second chorus of the song, MCR replaces the final line with a mention of the patient’s wife. When the patient passed on to the afterlife with the assistance of the Black Parade, his wife was left behind. She is weary of the pain and sorrows his depart caused her. But she carries on. There is nothing else to do but pick yourself up and dust yourself up and carry on!
The lyrics to the bridge of the song is an almost chant–a chant to blow life into all those who listen to this song. These lyrics talk about holding on, carrying on, living your life and putting up a smile while doing it all. There are no easy ways out or shortcuts to life. You just have to bite through the dust and see the rainbow on the other side yourself.
Gerard Way also goes on to say that he is not a hero narrating stories of legends and myths. He is a mere mortal who has found the strength and courage to pen these lyrics down for all of us to hear and understand. He might even get some backslash for these lyrics for talking about the afterlife which is a bit of a voodoo topic even today. But he just doesn’t care what everyone else thinks. He is on a mission to spread a message and he will not stop.
The most important thing about living is the ability to face everything and anything that the world can throw at us. You smile through it all and never let the world break the human inside you.
If “Welcome to the Black Parade” does not lift your spirits and energize you at the end of the day, there are not many songs to help you out. Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below and share your thoughts on this epic music video creation.
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