Coming so soon after another seminal pop rock records anniversary (Blink 182’s Enema Of The State turned 15 recently), it would be easy to downplay the significance of My Chemical Romance’s punk rock masterpiece. I urge you not to do that. Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge is this generations Dookie, and that is a massive accolade. Like both Enema and Dookie, Three Cheers features several of the very best rock songs recorded in the last twenty years. I’m not going to bother categorising them; pop punk, emo, screamo or post hardcore – whatever you want to call them, the songs on Three Cheers are undoubtedly brilliant.
Now this may be nostalgia getting the best of me, but in my opinion there simply isn’t a mediocre song on this album – let alone a bad one. It contains so many of My Chems biggest hits it’s almost laughable; a record that features an opening one-two of Helena and Give ‘Em Hell Kid and manages to not only continue this momentum but go on to include anthems as huge as I’m Not Okay and The Ghost Of You is simply once in a lifetime.
As the first major label release from the band, some change in style could be expected. Despite this, the transition from I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought My Your Love to Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge is arguably the smoothest change in the bands history. On Three Cheers, the band are more refined, the songs are tighter and the production is better, but tonally it is fairly similar to Bullets. Three Cheers perfected the formulae, taking the band out of dingy pub shows and catapulting them into the spotlight of the rock world. Part of this similarity is due to the two records overlapping story; My Chem’s melodramatic, narrative storytelling didn’t begin with The Black Parade, as many have assumed, but with these two records about love, loss and murder.
Because of these narratives, each of My Chem’s albums begs to be listened to front to back, and Three Cheers is no exception. Despite the oncoming rush of singles-albums, My Chemical Romance fought long and hard to craft a flowing, moving experience, with consistent themes. The sledgehammer transition from Interlude to Thank You For The Venom, for example, is one of the best moments on the album.
Throughout, the album tiptoes along the fine line between punk credentials and mainstream accessibility. Combining the same dark, dangerous and melancholic feel from the bands first album with an improved knack for crafting massive choruses and iconic musical moments, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge creates a unique atmosphere that is just as beautiful as it is haunting and as catchy as it is aggressive.
One of the greatest aspects of My Chemical Romance has always been their willingness to experiment. It seems that as soon as they conquer one genre, they move onto another without so much as a glance backwards. Just two years after Three Cheers opened the floodgates to a barrage of copycat acts, the Way brothers and Co were off dismantling the idea of mainstream with their hugely successful rock-opera The Black Parade.
Happy Birthday to the album that defined a generation of rock music listeners. Happy Birthday, Three Cheers. Thank you for the venom!