It was a rainy afternoon and I was fighting the urge to fall asleep at my desk when my Slack pinged me with a message from my coworker:
life isn’t real
The words felt more like a strange poem than an announcement but just like that, memories of listening to My Chemical Romance in my late teens came flooding back to me. Be still my emo heart. I hurriedly searched through Spotify to find the latest single, The Foundations of Decay, was indeed sitting there, begging for me to listen to it. 6 minutes long. I had a meeting in 5. Let’s do this. I made it 4 minutes in before begrudgingly hitting pause to join the meeting.
Admittedly, I haven’t really listened to My Chemical Romance in the past ten years. My musical tastes changed and evolved away from the skinny jeaned emo music scene as I graduated university and was thrust out into the “real world”. The chorus of The Foundations of Decay brings my inner emo kid back into screaming, pixel perfect focus: the purple underside of my hair, the spike bracelet that I’ve never managed to get rid of, the arm warmers and purple Chucks in the back of the closet which, by the way, is 98% black articles of clothing. The lyrics swing me violently back into nostalgia for a genre of music I’d foolishly thought I no longer loved.
The Foundations of Decay is reminiscent of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, but not quite. I consulted with my coworker, a My Chemical Romance fan who claims that she, and I quote, “would wipe the floor with anyone at Gerard Way trivia”, who agreed that this latest single is very distinctly My Chemical Romance, yet with a new, slightly more modern sound. She also thought that it seemed a little soft for a comeback song, despite being a respectable 6 minutes long.
Some of the time it sounds like Gerard Way is singing from far away but it works because really, he’s singing from somewhere around my 2008 memories of singing Helena and Cemetery Drive at karaoke. And yet, a closer examination of the lyrics suggests that this isn’t the My Chemical Romance my 17 year old self was listening to on her Creative Zen Nano Plus mp3 player (I never pretended to be cool). No, this is the My Chemical Romance of the people we Emos have grown up to become (in my case, the person in charge of SEO on this website). Another friend and fan claimed “I was immediately transformed back into my 20s when emo music was the only thing I felt understood what I was feeling inside.” Yes, exactly this.
What I have loved most about this single dropping into our laps unexpectedly today is that three women in three different decades of their lives collectively lost their shit over it. My coworker was barely out of kindergarten when Teenagers was popular and at the other end of the spectrum my early 40s friend was the age my coworker is now when Vampires Will Never Hurt You was out. As for myself, I seem to have hit at just the right time between awkward preteen and full-blown emo teenager, listening to I Don’t Love You after my first breakup.
I proceeded to listen to The Foundations of Decay for another hour and suddenly, I’m feeling an overwhelming urge to paint my nails and dye my hair black again like I did at 17. My emo Tripp pants are still lovingly tucked away in my closet but they don’t fit anymore. Do I still own a studded leather belt? While it’s a bit late on a week night for a woman in her early 30s to completely regress into her teenage emo self, nothing is stopping me from awkwardly dancing at my desk as I write this. I make no promises for Monday.
If you need me, I’ll be cutting a long side bang and thickening my eyeliner.