One of the best bands of the 2000s, My Chemical Romance connected with a new generation of rock fans by making the genre feel theatrical and emotional again. Their music was the perfect antidote to warmed over post-grunge and their sincerity and vulnerability made them the kind of band melodramatic young people live for. While the group called it quits in 2013, they’ve left behind a rich legacy, including a collection of amazing music videos.
“I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”
As the music video that introduced My Chemical Romance to the world, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” had a lot to accomplish. It needed to be edgy and flamboyant enough to show off the band’s unique aesthetic while still being palatable enough to satisfy broadcast standards and practices. And it needed to be clever enough to pull off its fake movie trailer gimmick. Marc Webb’s brilliant short manages to pull off all of those things while also making frontman Gerard Way look like a bona fide star.
“The Ghost of You”
When a band rises to prominence with an instantly iconic aesthetic, it can become difficult to view them outside of that context. With My Chemical Romance’s dedication to their post-hardcore take on Alice Cooper style theatrics, the group ran the risk of being pigeonholed as scenesters with no long-term viability. However, Marc Webb was able to shake up those assumptions with the “The Ghost of You” clip, which recast the MCR as clean-cut World War II servicemen. It turns out, the band’s music resonates regards of their styling.
A song that begins with the lyrics “like a hearse you died to get in again,” it’s going to need a video that’s appropriately melodramatic. However, going too far in that direction can make a band seem too self-serious and more than a little silly. However, director Marc Webb was able to successfully walk that line a deliver a gothic gem that doesn’t skimp on the theatrics but doesn’t undercut the song’s profound sense of sadness.
The best clip from the band’s Fabulous Killjoys period, “Sing” sees MCR’s comic book alter egos sustain some major causalities in the quest to the save the world from the sinister Better Living Industries. Even without understanding all the nuances of the Killjoys concept, the P.J. Brown-directed clip is enjoyable all by itself. After all, when a video has fast cars, desperate rebels, a demented bald-headed supervillain and some tragic deaths, what more do you need?
“Welcome to the Black Parade”
Directed by the legendary Samuel Bayer and featuring costumes made by Academy Award-winning designer Colleen Atwood, “Welcome to the Black Parade” is an epic music video that ranks among the very best produced in the 2000s. Elegant in its simplicity, the clip follows a terminally ill man (played by Lukas Haas) as he shed the mortal coil to join a parade of the dead led by the band. It’s beautiful, wildly over the top and goth as all hell. In other words, it’s MCR at their very best.