TS Eliot once said that no art has its meaning alone; that the past will always cloud the present (and the future) when it comes to analysis and interpretation, and that any artist "will be aware also that he must inevitably be judged by the standards of the past". Of course, his words were penned with the conflict between the canon of English literature and its current Modernist practitioners in mind, but it's applicable to My Chemical Romance too.
When a review includes a line like that, you know it's gonna rock.
"It's 2019. The city you're living in is completely homogenized. It's a plain of utopian uniformity, a metropolis of very few risks but even fewer rewards. Fear has been eradicated, but so has freedom. And at the head of this tedious existence is Better Living Industries, an oxymoron if there ever was one: a promise of a better life, yet only within strictly-defined parameters. Outside of the city, though, there's something different. It's wild and untamed. A resistance, led by a gang of feckless outlaws known as the 'Fabulous Killjoys'."
I'm not sure I could be more excited for My Chemical Romance's new album than I am. They just released the next video in the whole Killjoys vs Better Living-concept - "Sing" (which will make no sense unless you've seen the video for "Na Na Na") and it's completely awesome and after having watched Gerard die all prettily I'm now a bit...you know. (No, not sad. Horny.)
I didn't love the last album The Black Parade the way I love Bullets or the obsession with revenge in Three Cheers, but when a band has meant as much for your mental health as MCR has for mine, something like that doesn't really matter. And from what I've heard of the new album and seen of the concept, this album seems to have been pretty much made for me.
Firstly, geeky superhero comic book concept, yay! Secondly, I'm their age, which is just over thirty, which is such a weird age because you finally realise you've actually grown up, no doubt about it anymore, which is, well, weird. And means that now, more than ever, you need
"A lot of the elements of the setting are completely metaphorical for the real stuff that's going on in this album," explains Gerard, "which is a struggle of art vs. commerce and filth vs. corporate clean up, and freedom being a dangerous chaotic thing that's very hard to achieve, versus a kind of utopian situation where you're very safe and everything's very easy, but it's also very boring."
Made. For. Me.
Thirdly, there's a red line of admiration looping from MCR, right back to the early and middle 90s Britpop era. And I was right there. Back then.
Blur's The Great Escape might have been the last album I completely and utterly disappeared into. But Modern Life Is Rubbish is probably the album that most shaped me as a person.
There are some things about the Britpop era that makes it fascinating thinking about now, today. There was no Internet Culture. I didn't have a blog. Or livejournal. Or an e-mail account. This means I have no lj entries to remind me of what it was like back then, and of all the great bands I saw, all I have are some vague personal memories in my head. I do remember being in the one-bedroom London flat - my very first! - that I shared with these girls who are still my closest girlfriends today (How? How did we not end up killing each other in that flat?), and being very insecure about myself and very skinny and freezing a lot in that flat and sometimes wearing gloves to bed and listening to a lot of Chris Evans on Virgin and one day hearing about some film project Ewan Mcgregor was doing with Christian Bale called Velvet Goldmine and thinking "Oooh, can't wait to see that!"
And I remember even back then I was bored out of my mind with the whole "new lad" part of the culture of Britpop, even back then it just didn't appeal to me and seemed uninspiring and...and nofun! (Of course, that didn't seem very important compared to the feeling when listening to Oasis' "The Masterplan" the first time, so.) And we smoked a lot of Silk Cuts and drank a lot of snakebites and were in love with the keyboardist from Suede and we had only a vague idea who Ian Brown was but we knew Liam liked him and we fell asleep to the violins in Bittersweet Symphony and had no idea Blur was going over to American bands instead and we we were all into The Young Ones, maybe becuse we were such anglophiles. Or maybe because it was fucking funny.
But the strangest thing of all is that still, to this day, the song that most reminds me of this time, of all of this, when I hear it is Robbie William's "Angels".
(*This blog post sponsored by "Why wasn't The Libertines around back then 'cause I'd been fucking all over that!")