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Those more than vaguely familiar with the work of the mid 2000's rock band may read the title of this and think to themselves "What? Five? They only released four studio albums?!?!". And while that is technically true, in 2013 they released a series of five two-song-EPs titled Conventional Weapons shortly before the band announced they were splitting up. But despite them not releasing these songs in the form of an album, the work is worth considering while one is evaluating the discography of My Chemical Romance, and the five EPs add up to ten original songs, which is almost as long as their debut album. That being said, let's dive into the discography of My Chemical Romance.
5: 'I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love'
The debut album. The one that started the careers of Gerard Way, his brother Mikey, Ray Toro, Frank Iero, and some other people, and coincidentally starts this list. Unfortunately, however, the fact that this album starts this list means it's also the weakest album in their discography. That is not to say that the album is bad, however. The album has some pacing issues with at times monotonous guitar riffs and the lack of a recording budget is abundantly apparent. It's highlights however brightly outshine the issues that would otherwise wear down the album. Notable highlights are tracks like "Headfirst For Halos", which starts with a punchy solo that leads to the best riff of the album, "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville", a more morose track that was a precursor to the work they would put out later and has an absolutely haunting end, and the highlight of the whole album, "Vampires Will Never Hurt You".
4: 'Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge'
While not the start of My Chemical Romance's career, this is the start of My Chemical Romance proper in the minds of many fans and pop culture at large. This album is quite reminiscent of the previous, except much more polished, as they had an actual budget to record the album with this time. There are obvious successors to the last album tonally, such as "Thank You For The Venoms", "Cemetery Drive", and "I Never Told You What I Do For A Living". But the album also serves as a good bridge between their raw sound of the first album and the more epic scale of the follow up to this album with tracks like "Helena (So Long & Goodnight"), "The Ghost of You", and their more manic and experimental deep cuts like "You Don't Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison". And of course, I would be remiss to talk about this album without mentioning the single that cemented My Chemical Romance's place in the zeitgeist, "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)".
"You like DnD, Audrey Hepburn, Fangoria, Harry Houdini, and Crochet. You can't swim, you can't dance, and you don't know karate. Face it, you're never gonna make it."
"I don't wanna make it. I just... wanna..."
The track that put raw emotion under the angsty pop-punk sound is a bit of an outlier in the album, but any album with this song on it deserves to be recognized. Not to mention the iconic video to go with the song.
As far as flaws go, there are a few tracks that don't quite reach the heights of the others, like "To The End" and "The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You", but they're still enjoyable songs and fit well enough into the flow of the album as a whole.
3: 'Conventional Weapons'
As mentioned before, this technically isn't an album, but we're counting it as one because it is the length of a whole album and is desperately deserving of the same recognition that their albums do. These songs seem to only be appreciated by the more passionate MCR fans when these songs are some of the best work they've put out. One of the most distinct aspects of this album is its lack of flair that usually exists within My Chemical Romance albums. Gone are the orchestral tracks of The Black Parade and the synths of Danger Days, this is as close to a classic punk album this band has ever put out (hence the name Conventional Weapons). The standouts of the album are the anthems like "Boy Division" and "AMBULANCE", which starts with this beautiful choir before it explodes with the rest of the instruments, and the emotional gut-punches that are "The World is Ugly" and "The Light Behind Your Eyes".
2: 'Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys'
The final (official) studio album of My Chemical Romance, the most different of their albums, and one of their best. Gerard Way fully embraced his love of comic books and their aesthetic for this album (to the point of making a follow up comic to continue the stories of their music videos). This album is so consistently solid, even the tracks that I would call disappointing on another album like "S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W" or "Planetary (GO!)" are still fan favorites and absolute bops. There are no bad songs on this album, just good songs, great songs, and all-time great songs. All-time greats include "Save Yourself I'll Hold Them Back", "Na Na Na", and "DESTROYA''. What else is there to say really?
1: 'The Black Parade'
*Cue G Note*
Was there any doubt what would be the champion of this list? The album that will forever define My Chemical Romance and perhaps "emo" culture as a whole. It's also a perfect album. I mentioned earlier that Danger Days only has good, great, and all-time great songs. This album has no good songs, only great and all-time great. There are obvious all-time greats like the titular "Welcome To The Black Parade" and the immensely popular "Teenagers", but others include the ending track/sister track to the black parade, "Famous Last Words", the manically intense "House of Wolves", the even more manically intense "Mama", and the perhaps the most emotionally raw song they've written, "Cancer". The rest of the songs are great, but a couple I wanted to shout out are "Disenchanted", a track that is entirely fitting its name, and "Blood", the hidden track at the very end of the album that is only about a minute and a half but is still manically delightful.