Written by: Alexandria Smith, Special to CC2K
My Chemical Romance is a group that can’t be easily defined or described but continues to be a band that people can’t ignore. They incorporate intricate wailing guitars that are complimented by a punk influenced rhythm guitar and aggressive drum fills that, get into your head and stay there. Their sound as a whole is fast, messy, and dripping with aggression. Their unique sound along with their passion for the music, their message, and their approach to this pop punk “horror” genre, separates them from their contemporaries causing most people to either hate them or love them, and I am no exception.
I think I can pinpoint the exact moment when I knew that I loved this band. I was on the cusp of adolescence – a 12 year old with a penchant for anything angsty, punk, or goth that my older sister stumbled upon and showed me – when I first heard Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. This was the second album from the New Jersey based musical group that, at the time, really captured the dark, desperate feeling of what it meant to grow up on the outskirts of social acceptance, with their first big single I’m Not Okay (I Promise). I can’t tell you how many times I watched the music video with my sister, nearly screaming every lyric as I bounded across the room in a fit of ecstatic passion. In fact, it’s practically iconic in my book – a testament to both my youth and my love of music – as is the rest of Sweet Revenge and its predecessor Bullets.
Aside from the single, which doesn’t exactly fit with the overall theme of the record, the most attractive aspect about Sweet Revenge is the story. It is a concept album that follows the idea of a desperate man who makes a deal with the Devil in order to be reunited with his lover. The album draws on heavy horror-macabre themes, comic book and punk/metal influences, and sweeping metaphors. The album also tackles issues like suicide, depression, self-harm, violence, and loss throughout, particularly in Helena, It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Fucking Death Wish, and Cemetery Drive, which I found to also be interesting because so few people address depression in music. Ultimately, though, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge is a very raw soundtrack of devotion, betrayal, and loss that highlights the lengths that people will go through to be with the ones that they love and continues to lock in my love for the band and genre.