« Previous | Main | Next »

My Chemical Romance - 'Sing'

Post categories:

Fraser McAlpine | 14:36 UK time, Friday, 7 January 2011

My Chemical Romance

Sometimes, when settling down to listen to a hot new waxing by a world-beating band or singer, it helps to forget that you already know and love songs they've done before, or that you have some idea of who they are and what they do. It's especially helpful to let go of what kind of genre field you assume that they operate within.

In the case of My Chemical Romance, it's a good idea to put amazing bratty brilliance like 'Teenagers' and 'Na Na Na' to one side, so you don't wind up letting the momentum of your approval steamroller all over their new ideas. Nobody wants that, and your taste will always win out in the end anyway.

A useful trick is to imagine listening to the song as if you're a visitor from an alien planet, attempting to make sense of the bangs and huffs and scrapes, and trying to work out what this human thing called 'pop' may or may not be.

Incidentally, I said 'pop' and not 'rock' for a very good reason. As we are about to find out...

(Here's the video. It's the same as the last video, but in cars.)

See, while the band operate within the rock arena, using the outsider myth as a launchpad for who they are, 'Sing' is absolutely a pop song. It's not a pop song in the unhinged, cartoony way that 'Na Na Na' was a pop song, either. That's always been part of the MCR sonic arsenal.

Take away the Mad Max video and everything you know about MCR as a band and it's not really that big a stretch to imagine this mid-tempo, stately anthem coming out of the gobs of grown-up insider pop acts like Maroon 5 or the Script, is it? OK, not a perfect comparison, but not that far off either.

And hell, if Matt Cardle can cover Biffy Clyro and, without dramatically changing the structure of the song, still make it sound like The X Factor Winner's First Single, it's becoming clear that the boundaries between that which is pop and that which is rock are becoming riddled with more holes than a teabag's string vest.

In fact, it's only Gerard Way's customary finger-pointing list of people he would like to pay attention to his song - "the deaf", "the blind", "the ones that'll hate your guts" etc - that mark this out as a particularly My Chemical Romance sort of a song. The rest of it, from the moody piano/funky drummer introduction to the swirling dark synth at the end, is pure Radio 2. I guess it's only a startling revelation because the chuntery guitars have been toned down for once, but still...

That's why it's sometimes best to come at these things with a fresh mind, cos I'd be tempted to love it more, if the sonic evidence that this isn't really my sort of a thing wasn't quite so overwhelming.

Three starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

The Quietus says: "What follows is the mother of all sing-along choruses and a bass line so cavernous you could hollow it around and take shelter in it."

Filthypop says: "The chorus really is an empowering sound and is a sort of a sound that makes you want to rekindle your love with that special someone because the apocalypse is coming."


  • Comment number 1.

    While i agree that MCR aren't as hard rock as some other bands in the business, they aren't pop and though i get your point, somehow i can't imagine the script or maroon 5 making anything like this

  • Comment number 2.

    There is something very interesting psychologically about the need of some rock bands and artists to disappear behind an imaginary character, or set of characters. This is a great rock song, perhaps not that chart bound in my opinion, but the whole thing about this album is that for the second time, we do not get My Chemical Romance, but a band they pretend to be. Why is that? What are they scared of? Honesty? Discuss, in no more than 2000 words.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't think the massive concepts are a sign of the band's fear to be themselves but more a way of inspiring creativity. It's hard to keep writing song after song from personal experience, especially if nothing interesting is really happening in your life, so the concepts are there to create a new and different subject matter to explore.

    As for the imaginary characters I think they're just an excuse to dress up really. My Chemical Romance are so big and have such a large following that they can afford to mess about nowadays without fear of backlash. Personally I love it but I can see why some people may find it annoying or strange.

    P.S: Song's a 3 Star track for me, video's 5 Star all the way though.

  • Comment number 4.

    Changed my mind make that a 4 Star song, just listen to it again and it's great.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think it's because they just want to test their ideas out, and if this is how My Chemical Romance is, then so be it. Thye aren't hiding from themselves, just being extremely creative and portraying themselves as different ideas.

    5 STARS from me by the way, it sounds really good.

  • Comment number 6.

    That is a very good point harry, what do you do when you have sung about everything that happened to you? I doubt it is the case that nothing interesting is happening in My Chemical Romance's lives though :) Still, since we will all be living in a post apocalyptic new world order soon enough, we will all have plenty to write about...

  • Comment number 7.

    SO happy we're all coming back together... It proves moaning does get you places :D

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.