New Jersey emo legends My Chemical Romance released their career spanning greatest hits compilation May Death Never Stop You in March on Reprise Records, one year after the band split up and devastated the lives of many teenagers around the world. This compilation, according to the band, is seen in a positive light, stating in their press release that they are hopeful the songs “bring joy for you all as they have for us”.
The ‘best of’ opens up with the new song ‘Fake Your Death’, one of the last songs recorded by the band, however it just sounds pretentious with its upbeat handclaps and Journey-esque piano. It is insufferable along with singer Gerard Way’s trademark lyrics about pain and misery.
The next two tracks, ‘Honey This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us’ and ‘Vampires Will Never Hurt You’ (taken from their debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love), are both ramshackle post-hardcore numbers, although the latter track brings an interesting breakdown courtesy of guitarist Ray Toro. Songs such as ‘Helena’ and ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’ (both from their breakthrough sophomore album Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge) are more melodic in comparison, but despite being anthems for emos, they just appear to be drenched in misery, depression, and negativity.
This trend continued on their next album, 2006’s The Black Parade, a concept album about a cancer patient and his journey into the afterlife and beyond. The semi-title track ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ adds orchestral elements and marching drums, sounding very over dramatic while ‘Cancer’ is one of the few highlights, with lyrics from the perspective of the aforementioned cancer patient. ‘Teenagers’ supports teenagers cutting their wrists as a result of bullying, with its guitar solo containing a classic rock influence, in what appears to be a track with positive chemistry.
As the album moves towards MCR’s fourth album, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, the song ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’ is just as hideous as its title suggests, with a childish chorus that is well-suited for the radio, while ‘Sing’ takes the band in a slower, progressive direction. ‘Planetary (Go!)’ is an attempt at a pop track incorporating synthesizers and an air raid siren, however it is one of the worst songs the band has recorded and could have benefited from some rock instrumentation. Concluding track ‘The Kids From Yesterday’, the last single released by the band before their demise, brings a powerful chorus as a final swansong to their career.
May Death Never Stop You, as a compilation of ‘greatest hits’, is disappointing; lyrically, the band constantly discuss suicide, and although that seemed to be relateable to a lot of people (namely their fanbase, the ‘MCRmy’), they could have written more positive upbeat songs. My Chemical Romance fans will undoubtedly love this this collection as it covers the significant aspects of their significant career.
TOP TRACKS: ‘Cancer’; ‘Teenagers’
FOR FANS OF: Billy Talent; Fall Out Boy; Panic At The Disco