LOUDER FEATURES: Top 5 My Chemical Romance B-Sides That You Might Have Forgotten About
Hands up who should be waiting for the final encore of My Chemical Romance’s comeback show in Milton Keynes right about now? Yep, me too – and like many of you, my house has been filled with the sound of Gerard Way’s melodramatic vocals and introspective lyrics for the past few days in mourning. Never fear though, because deep-diving back down the wormhole of My Chemical Romance content on YouTube has led to me uncovering some forgotten old favourites – so, here are my top 5 favourite My Chemical Romance B-sides that you may have forgotten about…
Mastas Of Ravenkroft:
If you’ve ever wondered what the songs blasting from the Killjoys’ own radio would sound like, then look no further than ‘Mastas of Ravenkroft’. Taken from the band’s final studio-recorded EP to date, Mad Gear and the Missile Kid, this track is packed full of bubblegum punk vigour! Clocking in at just over 1 minute 30, and feeling more rough and ready than anything on Danger Days itself, it is beautifully anarchic, with a lead guitar line that is just as vibrant and raucous as you would expect from a fictional band of renegades. With Danger Days receiving lukewarm critical appreciation - though how anyone could possibly attempt to follow the monolith that was 2006’s The Black Parade is anybody’s guess, but that is an argument for another day – this entire EP feels simultaneously like a middle finger to the naysayers, and also a secret promise to the diehards that MCR’s fighting spirit was far from dead.
Okay, so technically this isn’t strictly a B-side, but it is one of the standout bonus-tracks from the anniversary edition of The Black Parade, Living With Ghosts. The dropping of the teaser video for the album’s release back in 2016 caused such a fervour of excitement amongst the dormant emo community that Twitter completely crashed several times that night! I myself ran a mile to my friend’s house in under 6 minutes, tears of excitement in my eyes, to deliver the news that a reunion might finally, against all the odds, be on the way! Though the dream of a reunion was soon quashed by a statement from the band, we did get an extended edition of their seminal album, The Black Parade, with an extra collection of demos, studio recordings and early versions of some of the album’s eventual 14 tracks. The standout amongst these, for me, was the rough mix of ‘Emily’. How this track didn’t make the original album is a mystery. It is pumped full of the same hyperinflated grandeur as beloved tracks like ‘Sleep’ and ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’, and one can only imagine what a full mix with grandiose percussion and scything guitars might have sounded like!
Bury Me In Black:
‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’ has become a globally recognised anthem amongst both emos and ‘normies’ alike in the over 15 years since it’s release, but it’s B-Side, ‘Bury Me In Black’ has been all but lost in the ashes of MySpace. Which is a shame, because it is a track of equally stunning quality. The rumble of low-slung guitars effervesces angst, and Gerard’s vocals are as affected and impassioned as ever. The bridge feels almost metalcore inspired, and the strained screams that pepper the verses break into the idiosyncratic, mournfully balladic vocals that made tracks such as ‘Cemetery Drive’ so resonant. Although perhaps there is silver lining to this track’s relative obscurity, as ‘Bury Me In Black’ is definitely something I would have had tattooed on me at 15 had I been allowed!
Heaven Help Us:
Now this one is an actual Black Parade B-Side, I promise! In fact, it was taken from the EP that was actually titled The Black Parade – The B Sides’, so I’m definitely in the clear this time! The EP’s most notable track is ‘Kill All Your Friends’, which was also released as a single in it’s own right. Yet ‘Heaven Help Us’ is it’s emotionally-charged, magnificent cousin, with all the sky-gazing majesty you could ask for from a My Chem track. Alongside the painfully raw lyrics, however, is a lighter, brighter undertone that makes the whole track beautifully bittersweet – epitomised by the simply gorgeous soaring guitar bubbles through the melody.
Rounding off this selection, we jump to entirely the opposite end of the emotional spectrum and back to, fittingly, the band’s final album, Danger Days. The relationship that My Chemical Romance had, and continue to have, with Japan is multifaceted and tightly-bound. Gerard in particular has professed his love for the country and it’s culture, both in interviews and manifested through his music, comic books and artworks. So, it seems only fitting that ‘Zero Percent’, the Japanese-exclusive bonus track from Danger Days, is the most deliberately overblown and flamboyant of all the tracks from that era – yes, even including ‘Planetary (GO!)’. Emanating funk rock from every pore, this is a real fist-pumping disco-punk rager that fires through your brain like a shot of adrenaline to the heart! It is feisty and groovy and unforgivingly reckless and wonderfully, wonderfully brilliant. It is tracks like these that make waiting one more year to see My Chemical Romance’s prodigal return even harder – particularly as the imagery of wild anarchy and anger harnessed into rebellion is so incredibly resonant right now. But one thing’s for sure, this is a band who will most certainly make it worth the wait!
What did you think of this list? Are there other B-Sides that we missed? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter!
My Chemical Romance's comeback UK tour has been rescheduled to June 2021 - the new dates can be found below: