My Chemical Romance

Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge

by Carmen White

Love ‘em or cringe at the sound of ‘em, My Chemical Romance’s Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge is a staple piece in emo’s repertoire. This early 2000’s Pop/Rock concept album is filled with adrenaline pumping and chaos creating rhythms and lyrics that speak to any rebellious teen and even adults.

This album follows a Romeo and Juliet style love story with a sweet tribute to Gerard’s grandmother thrown in the mix. This tale is filled to the brim with sweet melodies, big moments, and epic screams. The songs exhibit the raw emotions of the demolition lovers as the main character fulfills his deal with the devil to kill a thousand evil souls so that he can once again see his lover. The lyrics deal with how the murders slowly become justified in the name of love, with the narrator asking his lover to free him from the burden. The devil tricks him in the end: the last soul he must kill is himself. Oh yeah, there’s also some cute moments dedicated to his late grandma.

The album opens with the iconic “Helena”. The song is partially about Gerard Way’s grandma, Elena Lee Rush, may she rest in peace, but also creates the story for the rest of the album to follow. Two people, a man and a woman (Helena), die in a car crash, except the woman actually doesn’t die, though the man thinks she has. The man is sent to Hell where he laments the fact he has lost Helena. It is clear the song is emotional with the anthemic chorus that is meant to be screamed as if you’re experiencing the hurt yourself.

The album continues to tell the story with titles such as “You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison”, “The Ghost of You, and Cemetery Drive”, which all mention the fear and yearning the man experiences on his quest to get back his lover. Lyrically, the songs deal with themes of death, love, and depression. Most songs in the album have around the same amount of energy behind the vocals and instrumentals,  keeping that drive and passion we know Gerard for. While the songs  themselves are enough to make people fall in love with the album, the story elevates them. As an album, it does a great job creating a unique listening experience in which truly paying attention to the lyrics creates an entirely different experience. Whether or not he gets to see his lover again is up to interpretation, but the beautiful story comes to an end at “I Never Told You What I Do for a Living”.

MCR’s romanticization of death is very clear in this album which would be a common theme among later albums. Whether it's the death of a loved one that’s real or fake, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge covers all range of emotions one might endure in such a situation. Who would’ve thought that a band formed from the consequences of September 11th  would have such emotion in their music? MCR puts the emo in emotional. Killjoys agree that this album is a masterpiece that fuels the angst boiling inside and continues to live in our head rent free nearly 20 years after its release.