Funeral mourners dancing with umbrellas at the head of a gothic cathedral was my first sight of My Chemical Romance. The music video for “Helena” introduced my seven year old self to a new world of music. The dramatics and emotions radiating from the band intrigued me even as a child. Gerard Way was the ideal front man in rock and roll and the musical talent from the whole band showed that they were destined for greatness. It has been fifteen years since MCR’s breakout album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge was released, launching them into mainstream punk rock. My Chemical Romance wanted to make an impact, and with this album, they became one of the greatest bands of the 21st century.
Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge often takes a backseat to their stunning third album, The Black Parade. And while The Black Parade is a masterpiece of modern rock, it was Three Cheers that catapulted the band into the mainstream. Gerard Way, Ray Toro, Frank Iero, and Mikey Way created an everlasting collection of passionate tracks, each song on the album as impressive as the last. Tracks like “Thank You for the Venom” and “I Never Told You What I Do for a Living” outshine the singles “I’m Not Okay” and “Helena,” something that is not easy to do. The raw emotion radiating from lead singer Gerard Way, alongside the mind-blowing guitar riffs from Ray Toro helped create an album that would stand the test of time, and create a household name out of My Chemical Romance. Following the success of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, MCR was able to create the operatic, and just as dramatic, The Black Parade. The Black Parade further immortalized the band and provided them with the exhausting superstar status that would eventually lead to their demise. Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge ultimately conceived the band that My Chemical Romance would be and their influence on the music scene.
My Chemical Romance gave way for other “emo” bands to shine, or to ride their coattails. This wave of emo/goth/punk bands, like Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco, was able to be heard on mainstream radio because of MCR. MCR created music that was true to who they were and Three Cheers is indicative of that. “I’m Not Okay” became the anthem for outcasts everywhere and was sure to be on your Myspace page playlist. My Chemical Romance became an inspiration to future musicians who longed to express themselves the way that this band did. Modern rock in the 2000s made little to no attempt at exploring the theatricality that My Chem did with Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and to do it so unapologetically is what solidified their rightful status as distinguished musicians.
Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge was the first album I fell in love with. The messages that My Chemical Romance shared with the world shaped who I would become. To hear that you can be who you are and that it will all be okay in the end was impactful for a kid like myself. I always knew that I had enjoyed rock music, but this album directed me to so much more. From songs like “Cemetery Drive” and “The Ghost of You,” I became entranced by a more emotional sense of rock and roll. This album could be heard from my bedroom nearly every night throughout my middle school years and I’m sure for many others as well. My Chemical Romance had a large impact on not only the music scene, but on music lovers as well and Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge will remain an iconic staple in modern rock.