Personifying Death: Welcome To The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance

Jonah Busker and Nicholous Lord

For our second review, we’ll go back in time to review the song “Welcome To The Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance. It’s the fifth song from The Black Parade, the legendary 3rd album from the Newark, New Jersey rock and alternative band, My Chemical Romance. The band has been successful in the alternative rock space, with albums like I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, and Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, but when this album came out, it brought many accolades to the band, such as reaching #1 on MTV’s list of the Greatest Music Videos of the 21st Century and peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 after debuting at #71 upon release. This song is beloved by so many fans of the band and alternative rock, so we wanted to see what the hype was all about. Please note that this album has much symbolism related to death.

At the beginning of the song, we meet our narrator, also known as “The Patient,” on his deathbed. As the introductory verse begins, the Patient recounts a memory from when he was younger, in which his father took him to see a parade with a marching band. After the parade, the father of The Patient proceeds to ask him if he will help those people who are physically and mentally broken and can’t fend for themselves while fighting off any personal demons and naysayers he may have along the way. After that, The Patient’s father tells him that one day in the summer with a phantom to join the black parade. These two lines alone have great symbolism. The “phantom” mentioned in the first of these two lines could symbolize the Grim Reaper, and the “black parade” could symbolize all the demons leading him to the afterlife.

In the first verse, The Patient says that sometimes he feels that “she” is watching him. “She” could be three people: the personification of death, the biblical figure Mary, or Mother War, a character that appears in the music video of this song. The Patient goes on to say that other times he questions whether or not he should just die, due to the fact he feels insignificant in this world. 

In the chorus, the lyrics say, “We’ll carry on.” This could mean one of two things, that the world will carry on when The Patient is dead, or that The Patient could carry his beliefs and independence with him into the afterlife. 

This song starts out composed only of piano, making it eerily similar to some of the greater works in the classical genre made famous by great musicians such as Beethoven. Somehow, in this brief piano portion, the song gives you a strange sense of déjà vu, as if you’ve heard it somewhere before.

As the song progresses, rock music consisting of many beating drums comes in with the strange lightheartedness of a marching band slowly becoming louder. As such it becomes a greater part of the song. It’s almost as if the band of the “black parade,” as the title suggests, is marching into earshot. 

While the music goes on, more and more musical pieces are introduced. It’s almost as if the parade is going by and the different floats add alternate subversive and unique pieces to the song. As such, the next “float” adds a part mostly composed of electric guitars. Those guitars are played in a somewhat lighthearted yet depressing and low-energy manner. 

After a few minutes of singing that is almost drowned out by the electric guitar section, the piece changes in tone, and said guitars pick up the pace to bring about a mood change, taking the song from dark and gloomy to fast-paced and energetic.

The song ends with a very subtle transition into a piece full of soul, and composed of a much more somber attitude, which slowly dissipates into multiple intermittent drum rolls, which slowly dissipate, ending with one loud echoing bang.

We both really enjoyed this song. We felt as though the instrumental themes fit with the lyrical ones as well as others found throughout the album. We give this song a 9 out of 10.