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While My Chemical Romance comes off as emo, depressed, and suicidal, their songs actually say the opposite. The lyrics of most of their songs actually send a message of hope to their fans and not give up. Many kids have looked up to My Chemical Romance and their music and have been saved by the inspiring lyrics within the songs. Their most famous song for inspiring this feeling of hope is “Welcome to the Black Parade.” They inspire hope through the plot, scenes, and lyrics contained within the song and music video.
The song starts out softly with a piano playing slow, sad-toned notes. The whole video starts out in black and white with a man on his deathbed watching a TV. Gerard Way, the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, is on the TV and starts singing about a Black Parade relatively calm. The lyrics start:
When I was a young boy,
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.
He said, “Son when you grow up,
Would you be the savior of the broken,
The beaten and the damned?”
He said “Will you defeat them,
Your demons, and all the non-believers,
The plans that they have made?”
“Because one day I’ll leave you,
A phantom to lead you in the summer,
To join The Black Parade”
The scene switches from the hospital room to scenes from a parade. As the song progresses, the volume gets louder and the man starts dying. The nurses gather around him and hold his hand as he is dying. As he is fading in and out, dark circles appear and disappear around his eyes. He then reaches out to the air as Gerard reaches out through the TV. The TV then explodes, the music stops, and the walls of the hospital room drop.
Now in the beginning of this scene, the lyrics are talking about how when this man was taken to see a marching band when he was a young boy by his father. His father then proceeded to ask the boy what he was going to do with his life, if he was willing to change the plans of others to make sure good prevails, and if he was going to leave an impact when he dies. This means that the patient is looking back on his life and wondering if he accomplished what his dad asked him to do. Gerard Way is symbolizing the leader of the Black Parade because he is on top of the float, and also the patients dad as he is reaching out to the patient to help him join the Black Parade. As the lyrics of the song get louder, he comes closer and closer to death as well as this memory, until eventually, the music stops while he is reaching out to his father (Gerard Way) to help him join the Black Parade. When the walls drop, the patient dies.
The lyrics also show the dad having hope in his son to do great things. He wants his son to be a “savior.” This means he wants his kid to become something great to help the world and save the less fortunate. This would be “the beaten and the damned.” The father shows hope in his son to be able to accomplish these great things while also making sacrifices himself for the greater good. He also explains to the son that he will die someday and will not be there anymore, but when his son does pass, he will be there for him as well, in life and death.
The video then stretches out into a scene where there is a parade float with people in funeral like clothing around it and the band on top of the float wearing marching band uniforms. The music tempo and volume picks up and feels rebellious and destructive. There is ash in the air as if something is burning and the whole scene is still in black and white except for the red on the parade float and the costumes. The lyrics go into a verse that states:
Sometimes I get the feeling she’s watching over me.
And other times I feel like I should go.
And through it all, the rise and fall, the bodies in the streets.
And when you’re gone we want you all to know.
The person who was watching over is his mother because in the beginning of the song it only mentions him having a father, so it means that his mother is deceased and watching over him. He feels like he should go because he does not want to disappoint his parents watching over him and sometimes feeling like giving up. The “rise and fall” defines the high and low points that everyone has in their lives. It was up to him to overcome all the difficult times and make a difference in those times to make himself be remembered or at least make an impact before he died. The people in the background are the bodies that were in the streets that passed on into the afterlife like the man who passed in the hospital room. They are also the people he tried to help save or had no chance of saving because of the situations they might have been in. This is a message of hope for the audience because no matter what he went through, he made it through even with the massive weight on his shoulders and he made it through even though he wanted to give up sometimes, “feeling like I[he] should go.”
In the next scene it mostly gets the band singing the chorus:
We’ll carry on,
We’ll carry on
And though you’re dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We’ll carry on
And in my heart I can’t contain it
The anthem won’t explain it.
The lyrics are the focal point of this part of the video. It is saying that even though the man is dead that he will not be forgotten and has made an impact on the people in his life, so they will “carry on.” The impact that he made was so strong, it made it so the people he impacted were so touched or changed that there are no words to describe how it helped their lives. This means he accomplished what his dad wanted him to do by “defeating all the demons and nonbelievers” and being the “savior of the broken, the beaten, and the damned.” The people he helped are saying that even though he is gone they will “carry on” instilling a message of hope into the listeners of the audience.
The scene then flashes again between the band and the parade goers with the lyrics:
A world that sends you reeling from decimated dreams
Your misery and hate will kill us all.
So paint it black and take it back
Let’s shout it loud and clear
Defiant to the end we hear the call
(And after this verse it goes back into the chorus)
These lyrics are saying the world is full of “misery and hate” and will give you “decimated dreams, but you should take what the world gives you and make it useful for yourself and turn it into something that will be worth giving back to the world. This shows hope even in the darkest times because gives the audience a sense that no matter what happens to them in life, they can always change it to make it work out for them in the end. It also is telling the audience that they should never give up hope even until the very end and that they should once again, “carry on.”
The next scene opens up with a small group of the parade goers holding a picket sign that says “Starved in the land of plenty.” The man is officially inducted into the Black Parade by being given a medal. The last bridge of the song is strong and filled with emotion.
On and on we carry through the fears
Disappointed faces of your peers
Take a look at me cause I could not care at all
Do or die, you’ll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you’ll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part
I won’t explain or say I’m sorry
I’m unashamed, I’m gonna show my scar
Give a cheer for all the broken
Listen here, because it’s who we are
I’m just a man, I’m not a hero
Just a boy, who had to sing this song
I’m just a man, I’m not a hero
I don’t care!
(The song ends going back into the chorus)
These lyrics are from the viewpoint of the man saying that he is just an average person, but even average people can do great things. His scar is the memories and struggles he had to go through while trying to help the people through his life. The group that was holding the sign are some of the people he helped and one of the problems he tries to solve. This section of lyrics holds hope for people who do not think they can do great things and think lowly of themselves, but if they hold themselves high enough, nothing is too far out of reach. The song ends with the man carrying on and leaving the Black Parade to continue to fulfill his father’s wishes.
My Chemical Romance does a great job at eliciting hope through the plot, scenes, and lyrics of the video and song for “Welcome to the Black Parade.” This song has helped me through many hard times with break ups and moving to new states. It always lifted my spirits no matter what I went through and let me know there will be better things in the future and the present is what I make of it. Like this man, even though he had ups and downs, he’ll carry on, even though he is just a boy, a man with scars, meant to sing this song, to carry on, and so will I.
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