From the Vinyl Vault - 11/22/18
Frankie - My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
I imagine one of the best parts of collecting vinyl, for those older than me, is the nostalgia it generates getting your hands one an album you used to jam to with the high school friends you haven’t spoken to in years. It’s almost funny that I get that sense from an album that’s only 12 years old. The Black Parade was one of many soundtracks to my high school years. I listened to it regularly, fondly, and it absolutely shaped my view of the world, even at such a young age. It was one of my very first favorite albums by one of my very first bands, even if I didn’t full understand the content at the time and feel differently about the content now.
I have to say, listening to the album now, I feel like it may have been a bit too dark for such a young girl to be listening to wholeheartedly. To be honest, it was probably my first real introduction to rock music. I remember the day I first heard “Welcome to the Black Parade” was in seventh grade when my newly formed group of friends took it upon themselves to enlighten me. Up until then, I had only really listened to the country music my mother played in the car, the Pink Floyd or Journey that would occasionally penetrate the mix, or the pop music my sister was blasting behind her closed door or teaching me to dance to. I remember the ballad washing over me like a dark wave and I was hooked, I needed more. Thus was my indoctrination into the emo ether and I never looked back. From there it snowballed into Fall Out Boy, AFI, Coheed and Cambria, Panic! At The Disco, Brand New, and many other bands that I still listen to. My Chemical Romance is my Led Zeppelin. There, I said it.
It is hard for me to say which song on the album is my favorite, but I know the song I listen to the most from this album is “Disenchanted.” I’ve always loved words, and the word “disenchanted” has been a staple in my vocabulary since I learned what it meant, listening to this song. As not a particularly popular person in high school, the lines “I spent my high school career / spit on and shoved to agree / so I could watch all my heroes / sell a car on TV” hit me hard as I was rapidly growing up and the veil of childhood was being drawn back. Another song I really enjoy is the short but sickly sweet hidden track “Blood” with its cheery tune and comically dark lyrics. It doesn’t begin to play until a minute and a half after the final listed track “Famous Last Words.”
‘The Black Parade” celebrated it’s 10 year birthday in 2016 and a special edition vinyl was released called “The Black Parade/ Living With Ghosts” featuring the original track list plus demo recordings and mixes of several of the songs. It was a 3-disk LP in a trifold sleeve featuring new album artwork depicting a white flag bearing a cross. You could find it in record stores, Barnes and Noble’s, and F.Y.Es across the nation for around $25. This is not the one I own. I didn’t like the new album artwork, as it just didn’t feel like the album from my childhood. Instead, I opted to buy the more expensive European pressing that was released a year before. I bought the album off discogs.com with my tax-return money and waited patiently for it to arrive from over seas. It was worth the expense; it’s a 2-disk LP, but side D features an etching of the skeletal bandleader depicted on the original cover.
Michael - David Bowie - Blackstar
This week I wanted to highlight David Bowie's final album Blackstar which he finished shortly before he passed away. It is such an amazing album and what I consider a gift from Mr. Bowie before he passed. He wanted to finish this album before he passed away from cancer, he had to. Boy did he leave us with something worth remembering him by. Tracks such as "Lazarus" and "Blackstar" highlight this album.
David Bowie was such an important figure to music (as you can tell by my recent arguments concerning him). He redefined showmanship and what it meant to be a rock star. He singlehandedly invented glam rock and art rock. I often call him the Andy Warhol of music, because he was not just a musician, he was special, he was an icon. This copy of Blackstar was gifted to me by my wife and daughter from a local Corpus Christi record store. It will always hold an important place on my shelf.