Woah!!!! @holz_TW made this incredible drawing of some photogs and I’m in here with some really amazing friends / photogs. Thank you so much!
I attended the best concert of my life tonight and it reminded of me how much I love what I love and why I do what I do. #echelon #newtattoofosho
SOUND POLITICS: SKYLINES AND TURNSTILES
Band: My Chemical Romance
Song: Skylines and Turnstiles
Album: I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love
The following piece of writing is a break-down analysis of the first song ever written by New Jersey-born post-hardcore/rock band My Chemical Romance that was released in 2002; Skylines and Turnstiles. From the very beginning of My Chemical Romance, or rather their formation in 2001, it has always been clear that the theatrically-dramatic horror-enthusiasts have always stood up for the right to be different and accepted. This notion first began with the release of Skylines and Turnstiles in 2002 which at the time was a means for Gerard Way, MCR’s frontman, to cope with the horrific sights left imprinted in his mind after watching first hand the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre while he was actually on his way to work (Kaplan, 2006). I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love is an angst-ridden and aggressive album that has managed to nail this combination with introspective lyrics; something bands of all genres have been trying to do for a long time (Henderson, n.d., para 1). With the break-up of My Chemical Romance in March 2013 and the release of their “greatest hits” collection album in March 2014 (Warner Bros Records, 2014, para 1), I now feel safe to say that each and every album release from MCR has told an ongoing story of life’s hardships and surviving them. This is easily seen when the obvious issues of pain, death and loss of their first album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love is contrasted with the fiery, taunting and, as Rolling Stone contributor Melissa Maerz refers to it, fast-loud defiance of their last album Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys (Maerz, 2010, para 2). There is no doubt that My Chemical Romance’s 12 year legacy began with one song about one tragedy: Skylines and Turnstiles.
When the fractured and pain-ridden intensity of the introducing instruments (Ray Toro on guitar, Matt Pelissier on drums and Gerard Way’s vocals) are coupled with the incredibly confronting lyrics describing a deep level of sadness and loss that can be easily related to by anyone (especially when keeping in mind Skylines and Turnstiles was written as a reaction or response to the 9/11 attacks in New York), you’re left with nothing less than at least some form of mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual connection to the song.
Thanks to the energetic introduction from Ray Toro’s guitar and Matt Pelissier on drums, listeners are instantly intrigued. This interest is then reinforced when the first line of the song “You’re not in this alone, let me break this awkward silence” is sung and you’re left wanting to know more.
The combination of the consistent drums throughout the song that keep the beat, the catchy and energetic (yet aggressive) guitar riffs and Gerard Way’s seemingly raw but still tragically beautiful clean vocals is what structures our attention to hear or experience the song the way it should be.
My Chemical Romance’s identity is positioned through Skylines and Turnstiles with the diversity of Gerard’s voice ranging from tragically beautiful clean melodies to fractured and raw vocals in moments of intensity throughout the song. This song acted as a platform from where the band then built their identity; normal people who are no higher in society than anyone else, who have dealt with an array of different personal issues and wish to help others who have too.
Traditionally (or rather stereotypically) My Chemical Romance at least seems authentic; men writing their own music and playing their own instruments. The level of authenticity MCR really bring to the post-hardcore scene doesn’t stop there however. Personally I believe that authenticity is directly related to why a band makes music. My Chemical Romance was born from a tragedy and has served in the music scene as a band that wants to save your life; a band that writes about the different forms of hardship’s life may throw at you and how everyone has the right and the potential to overcome them, be accepted, and be happy.
Sexuality and Gender
It is evident that through both this first ever song that was written and the album it was released on, the members of My Chemical Romance are icons of strength. The fact that the entire band is composed of male artists contributes to their image of strength and fortitude. It is through Gerard’s lyrics and the aggressive instrumentals that this image is solidified which then acts as a platform for further identity building for the band in the future.
Drugs and Transcendence
It is well-known now that drugs played a role in the lives of the MCR members, Gerard especially. Gerard’s battle with serious personal issues and serious drug/alcohol abuse issues was something that often came out in the lyrics he wrote for this album; Skylines and Turnstiles especially.
As already mentioned, Skylines and Turnstiles is about suffering a great tragedy involving pain and loss, and about moving on with your life. This message is then carried in one way or another throughout the whole album.
As touched on before and originally mentioned by Alex Henderson, My Chemical Romance’s combination of “aggressive and hard rocking” with “introspective lyrics” is a combination often attempted by bands in which MCR managed to nail on the head (Henderson, n.d., para 1). This particular combination worked perfectly with the band’s unique combination of musicians.
Genre and Style
As a band, My Chemical Romance is more often than not referred to as alternative rock in order to cover every genre they touch on throughout their 13 years of making music. In saying that however, both the album I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love and Skylines and Turnstiles are very much post-hardcore stemming into what seems to be elements of early punk.
Up until just before writing this analysis I was interested in analysing this song through the concept of sonic narrative. I believe there is a lot to be told and understand about the story My Chemical Romance’s songs and albums tell. Each song tells a different part of a particular message or story for each album, and each album tells a different part of an even bigger “big-picture” message. I noticed however that sonic narrative wasn’t listed as a concept to mention, so if I can’t go ahead and use sonic as the key concept to analyse the song through, I would choose to analyse this song through the concept of authenticity.
Kaplan, Greg. 2006. "Life on the Murder Scene". Directed by Greg Kaplan. Produced by Howard Benson. California: Reprise Records. DVD.
Henderson, Alex. (n.d.). My Chemical Romance - I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love: Review by Alex Henderson [Web blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/album/i-brought-you-my-bullets-you-brought-me-your-love-mw0000230089
Warner Bros Records. (2014). NEWS: Get ‘Fake Your Own Death’ Now. Retrieved: March 21st, 2014 from http://www.mychemicalromance.com/news
Maerz, Melissa. (November 22nd, 2010). My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/danger-days-the-true-lives-of-the-fabulous-killjoys-20101122