Don't be fooled by "Welcome to the Black Parade," the first and rather lengthy single off My Chemical Romance's third disc. The entirety of The Black Parade, although obviously ambitious in its influences and concept, doesn't ape Freddie Mercury. In fact, most of the record just sounds like a more grown-up MCR that can be enjoyed by its fans and its fans' parents. "Mama" is the rousing standout, fully showcasing singer Gerard Way's perfected angsty howl and making surprisingly brilliant use of guest vocalist Liza Minnelli. Many of the record's slower tracks lack the enthusiasm of the single, although moping teenagers will enjoy the album's ballad-heavy edge. But MCR is consistently on point every note of the way. Way's lyrical witticism is particularly strong on "Teenagers," in which he cleverly relates to his entire fan base by yelping about what it's like to be at odds with the world. Sure, it might be a little too early in MCR's career for a high-reaching concept record, but The Black Parade shoots for the stars and nearly reaches them.
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