One of the bands I totally love is My Chemical Romance. I've loved them since the first time I saw the video for their song "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)," which looks like a movie trailer for the best revenge of the nerds video, ever. Take a look:
That is a great video. And it didn't hurt that the song was just as great--a fresh and angry take on being abandoned by someone you thought really liked you.
That song, their breakout hit, was on their second album. Their third was the epic The Black Parade, which deviated from the emo rock template and was both bloated and grand. Everything about The Black Parade was big. The songs, the videos, the tour, and the post partum depression that followed it, which is why it took four years for them to make a follow-up album.
The album -- Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys -- came out last Monday, and is...well, from a hard rock emo band like My Chemical Romance, it's a surprise. A wonderful one. There are a number of amazing songs on this album, but this one -- "The Only Hope For Me Is You" -- is my current favorite, and was released as a preview, so I don't feel bad posting it here even though it's not the current single. Listen to this*:
It's beautiful, right? It's haunting, and somehow familiar, although there's nothing like it on the radio. And it's sad, but also hopeful. And, compared to "I'm Not Okay" it's positively mellow. Just lovely.
Where were you when all of the embers fell?
I still remember them,
covered in ash,
covered in glass.
covered in all my friends.
I still think of the bombs they built
A post-apocalyptic love song. Fantastic.
But after a few listens, and a little help from my iPod, I realized why the song sounded so familiar to me immediately. It's because of the first fifteen seconds.
Listen to the first fifteen seconds of "The Only Hope For Me Is You" and then listen to the first thirty seconds of this:
That's right, the beginning of one of the songs off MCR's new album is eerily reminiscent of the beginning of "Your Wildest Dreams" by The Moody Blues, released in 1986.
That's not to say that they're copies of each other, the way some Nickelback songs are copies of other Nickelback songs,** just that the similarities are enough that MCR's song made me recall the Moody Blues' song.*** And the songs are similar enough in tone that that recollection wasn't jarring--so natural, in fact, that it felt like I'd heard the MCR song before, even on the first listen.
Is it intentional? I don't know. MCR's always been one of those bands who wears its influences on its sleeve (take a listen to anything on The Black Parade--it's so full of Queen that you expect to hear Freddie Mercury any second), but The Moody Blues hasn't been on the list of influences that they've mentioned thus far (although Danger Days is very influenced by the 80s in general). I doubt that they thought "let's remake the first thirty seconds of 'Your Wildest Dreams.'" I suspect it happened the way that influences make their way into my writing -- you hear something or read something and somehow it sticks with you, in your subconscious, until it seeps out into the work. And then, someone like me comes along and says to you "hey, that's sort of like this" and you look at it again and say "holy cow! You're right!"
Either way, it's a kickass song.
* The song hasn't been a single yet, so there's not a video for it.
** No, really. COPIES. Listen to this:
*** In fact, after the first fifteen seconds, the songs diverge and aren't really similar at all.