My Chemical Romance and the evolution of emo – Louder

Posted: February 9, 2020 at 2:50 am


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When The Daily Mail waged atypically putrid and ill-informed campaign against My Chemical Romance and the dangers of emo music in 2008, it was the first time many people had ever been confronted by the term. Much guffawing and puzzled looks were exchanged around the country by so-called normal folk. What was this emo music that My Chemical Romance were the leading lights of?

The irony, to anyone au fait with the roots of this music, is that when MCR were tagged as the genres figureheads, it totally changed the definition of what emo actually was. The tag emo, derived from the emotional hardcore of the mid-80s punk scene, bears little or no resemblance to Gerard Way and co. From Rites Of Springs meek and melody-heavy tunes, the Descendents geeky, lovelorn buzzsaw punk or Fugazis discordant, socially conscious and freeform ire, the inspiration for emo was radically different from theself-loathing horror punk itsnow associated with.

It was established as a genuine movement and sub-genre during the 90s as a slew of bands took the sound of hardcore and stripped it of all the bullish machismo that had become the norm, instead infusing it with an honesty and sensitivity that had never been heard before. Jawbox, Far, Nada Surf, Gameface, Garrison and more all existed deep within the underground, pulling in a more introspective, thoughtful college audience that eschewed the glue-sniffing, phlegm-gobbing aesthetic of traditional punk rock. These were bands who were influenced as much by The Smiths as they were by Black Flag ironic given that MCR openly admitted that those two groups had a huge influence on their sound.

What they didnt do was sell records, ensuring that emo was still an unheard-of, word-of-mouth movement in the main. That was until the turn of the millennium, as the globe-straddling commercial behemoth of nu metal began to run out of ideas and its fans were forced to searchelsewhere for an antidote to its creative decline.

Those seduced by the heavier elements soon found sanctuary in the nascent metalcore movement and the reimagining of thrash that bands such as Lamb Of God andTrivium delivered. But for those who related to early nu metals wounded lyrical honesty and forward-thinking sonic approach, the void was filled by a group of post-hardcore acts, led by Glassjaw, At The Drive-In and And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. Theybeganto actually infiltrateMTVandmainstream culture while being confusingly monikeredas emo, post-rock and screamo at various times. Clearly, emo was stillimpossible to pin down to an actual sound.

It was the success of Jimmy Eat World, Thursday, Taking Back Sunday and British acts Funeral For A Friend and Hundred Reasons that offered emo a clearly defined sound and look. Skinny jeans, fringes and classic American apparel were married to chiming guitars, whisper-to-shriek vocals and a melding of anthemic choruses with indie-esque punk.

This is where MCR come in. Having toured with the aforementioned Thursday and Taking Back Sunday here in the UK, it was easy to pigeonhole them alongside their peers, yet they were radically different to those bands. The only real comparisons would be AFI and Alkaline Trio, two bands that ignored heartbreak and introspection and instead concentrated on a black-hearted, gothic-heavy, macabre sound that wasstrongly influenced by the Misfits B-movie schlock punk.

In fact, Gerard Way himself stated bluntly that MCR never felt partofor identified with the scene. Basically, its never been an accurate way to describe us, he told American college website TheMaine Campus. I think emo is fucking garbage; its bullshit. Ithink theres bands that we unfortunately get lumped in with thatare considered emo and by default that starts to make us emo.

Of course, once MCR broke, the look and sound of emo were definedby their every action. Despite being vocally anti-violence andanti-suicide, themes of self-harm, depression and distress becameinexplicably linked with their sound and image. They were followed by countless also-rans trying to pull the exact same trick. Now every band that adds even a touch of melancholy to their music, from Black Veil Brides to Bring Me The Horizon, are sneeringly referred to with the tag.

For better or worse, the change in emos DNA isall due to the massive impact of My Chemical Romance.

My Chemical Romance head out on tour later this year. Check out full dates below:

Jun 18: Milton Keynes, Stadium MK, UK Jun 20: Milton Keynes, Stadium MK, UK Jun 21: Milton Keynes, Stadium MK, UK Sep 09: Detroit, Little Caesars Arena, MI Sep 11: St Paul Xcel Energy Center, MN Sep 12: Chicago Riot Fest, IL Sep 14: Toronto Scotiabank Arena, ON Sep 15: Boston TD Garden, MA Sep 17: Brooklyn Barclays Center, NY Sep 18: Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center, PA Sep 20: Atlanta Music Midtown, GA Sep 22: Newark Prudential Center, NJ Sep 26: Sunrise BB&T Center, FL Sep 29: Houston Toyoto Center, TX Sep 30: Dallas American Airline Center, TX Oct 02: Denver Pepsi Center, CO Oct 04: Tacoma Dome, WA Oct 06: Oakland Arena, CA Oct 08: Los Angeles The Forum, CA Oct 10: Sacramento Aftershock, CA Oct 11: Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena, NV

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My Chemical Romance and the evolution of emo - Louder

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February 9th, 2020 at 2:50 am