Like Phantoms Forever: My Chemical Romance’s Reunion & Fan’s Reactions

Maira Khurana, Staff Writer

  No era is more reminiscent of angst-filled adolescence than the early to mid-2000s. The alternative band My Chemical Romance (MCR), from Newark, New Jersey,  can be described as nothing other than the very essence of that teenage angst. With their hit albums Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and The Black Parade, MCR cemented themselves as not only the forefront of the emo genre, but the face of a subculture. 

Many a furious, sweaty adolescent has screamed the lyrics of  “Teenagers”, an anthem to teenage misbehavior, or cried to the angry breakup song “Helena” while mourning the loss of an eighth grade girlfriend. They also wrote “I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love”, a song about the devastating effects of September 11, 2001, on the  American spirit and the country as a whole. Their ultimate song, however, is indubitably, “Welcome to the Black Parade”, a hit song off of their experimental rock opera. “Welcome to the Black Parade” is everyone’s first MCR song, perhaps because it is their most popular song to date, or because it encapsulates the band so perfectly. Any semi-avid listener of pop-punk music could sing the whole song through without pause, right down to the piano intro. 

            Unfortunately, MCR broke up on March 22, 2013, ending their pop-punk regime. The MCR-my,  initially in uproar, eventually settled, realizing that MCR had simply gone the same way that The Beatles did. However, this Halloween, those very fans were astounded when MCR announced a reunion show for December 20, 2019. The announcement shocked fans worldwide, and tickets sold out within four minutes. Soon after, on November 5, MCR announced a small tour- they would be visiting Australia, New Zealand, and Japan in 2020. 

This new announcement from the band sparked all different reactions in MCR fans. Some fans couldn’t be happier to hear that their favorite band had reunited. Others suspected there was a deeper meaning behind their untimely return. 

           Sophia Gilliam, ‘23, was informed on Halloween night that MCR was returning. “It was like 10:30 at night,” she said, “[my brother] called me and started screaming about how they had returned. I told him to shut up because I was watching a movie. I was really excited though.” 

However, Gilliam was more than thrilled and she gave more insight into the band. When I asked her what she thought of their return, Gilliam said that she hoped that “their band isn’t internally toxic like it was before,” and added that “the lead singer had a lot of issues with addiction, which is why the band broke up.” 

Gilliam expressed that she’s “glad that everyone in the band is in a good place in their lives, where they can be healthy and play good music.” 

Nostalgia filled many fans when they heard about the reunion. Fans remember the days when their favorite band was still together, making music and touring. Most fans sadly believed that those days had ended, and their only way to keep the band alive was to continue to listen to their old music. The idea of MCR’s reunion filled lots of fans with excitement that the band they thought was forever separated has returned.

           Not everyone, however, sees MCR’s return as the band simply getting back together. Another student, Galen O’Brien, ‘23, has a different take on it. 

“It’s a publicity stunt,” they noted. “If you’re not going to play new music or make new stuff, but you’re still getting together, it’s really just a publicity stunt.” This doesn’t mean that they aren’t thrilled, though.  “I mean, don’t get me wrong,” they said, “it’s giving me a chance to re-listen to their old stuff, and I love that.”

          Regardless of the true reason for MCR’s return, fans continue to be excited. Most fans hope that the band would be reunited and pick up where they left off with making new music, as it would give them new and more modern music  to listen to. However, any kind of reunion is still offering more than fans had expected this year. 

Despite the relative controversy of MCR’s return, there is no doubt about the meaning of their music. 

Claire Oh, ‘23, explained that, “the music is kind of a mood. It’s good for letting your emotions out during hard times,” and that “MCR’s music was the first song [she] learned on the guitar.”

          For Gilliam, MCR helps her “thrive in [her] emo self,” and O’Brien went so far as to call them “the most genre-defining band since Nirvana.”

         It’s clear that despite MCR’s untimely break up, fans never left them behind. The return of My Chemical Romance may not be what the world expected this year, but it is certainly a welcome surprise. My Chemical Romance gave people music they could relate to and express their emotions. This is why fans have continued to appreciate their music, even after the band separated. All in all, one can say with conviction that My Chemical Romance has made a lasting mark on the world.