An Appreciation for Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Written by: Julie Vega

As the decade comes to an end, I’ll like to take a step back and look at what the decade has brought us. In 2010, My Chemical Romance brought us their last studio album Danger Days, a comic-pop classic. The breakup of My Chemical Romance broke the hearts of many, but we all came to the conclusion that we will respect MCR’s wishes and hope for the best. Now, MCR has announced their reunion and will be performing in Los Angeles. As of writing this, I don’t know what to expect from the show. I never thought I would hear a My Chemical Romance song live, so trying to pinpoint songs they will perform is extremely difficult. Again, we’ll be ending the decade with My Chemical Romance and that is fantastic. On the other hand, I want to look back at the previous decade. My Chemical Romance not only released one but three amazing albums : I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, and The Black Parade. Equally, these albums are great in their own art and deserve the praise they get. Out of all the albums MCR has released, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge has stuck with me for the longest. The album has- not only- left a mark in the early 2000’s post-hardcore scene, but also in the emo scene. It’s cultural impact has set the example on how a story should be told in terms of lyricism and emotion from the vocalist. Three Cheers came out in 2004 and still stands as one of the most iconic emo albums of the 2000’s. Many will argue that The Black Parade is MCR’s most recognizable work, but I disagree. Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge carried MCR into new boundaries, created a unique storyline, and perfected the expression of loss and anger through their lyrics.

With the release of Bullets in their hands, My Chemical Romance didn’t waste time on recording new tracks. Three Cheers took less than a year to record and was released two years after Bullets. The album itself moved MCR from a small band in New Jersey to being signed to a major record label. The production on Three Cheers was clear and concise. The audio, especially the vocals were more clear and not muffled out by the instruments, as while in Bullets, you can barely hear Gerard’s voice. One example is Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough for the Two of Us. The song itself has a 40 second introduction of the same repetitive guitar chords. Gerard’s vocals are distinct, however, the audio is much louder on the instruments. The supporting vocals of Ray and Gerard are all over the place. In Helena, Gerard’s vocals and the instruments are at an equal level. Gerard’s vocals are clear and not taken over by the instruments. Ray’s supporting vocals are also more clear and not muffled out by multiple music layers. Without being overlapped by multiple musical layers, Gerard’s vocals were more distinct and the instruments are unmistakably energetic and loud. All in all, the production done on Three Cheers was a fantastic improvement from Bullets. In conclusion, with better production, MCR were able to focus on their songwriting and themes on the album

Taking a look at the album cover, we see an intense scene portraying a man and woman covered in blood. The sharp and violent cover drawn by Gerard focuses on lovers being caught in the gunfire, in which the man dies, but his wife survives. Thus, he makes a deal with the devil and must kill evil men in order to be with her. The theme of loss and angst is carried track by track. In The Ghost of You, the heartbreaking chorus of  “Never coming home, never coming home” haunts with sadness. Tied with the music video, The Ghost of You can remind everyone on losing a loved one and having to deal with the remembrance of losing them. Moreover, the storyline of the man and his journey to be reunited with his wife brings him anger. He suffers with the thoughts of getting revenge on those who harmed him along the way. With the intense, roaring verse of  “I will avenge my ghost with every breath I take” on It’s Not a Deathwish, It’s a Deathwish, shows the anger of the man. Lastly, in I Never Told You What I Do for a Living, the man has realized that he will never be with his wife and it’s for the better, as he has become a murderer. The chorus breakdown of Gerard yelling “ I tried, I tried, and I lied” to “...we'll love again, we'll laugh again, we'll cry again and we'll dance again. And it's better off this way, I can't clean the blood off the sheets in my bed.” The man accepted that he cannot erase the crimes he committed, but has lost the one thing he was fighting for. The theme of loss and anger was captured so perfectly within an almost 40 minute album. Oddly enough, the album’s theme is very similar to cult classic movie, The Crow. The Crow tells the story of lovers being murdered and the man is avenged by a crow. He carries out his mission to harm those who have harmed his wife and himself. Coincidentally, The Crow discusses loss and anger, portrayed by the man’s actions. While Three Cheers also discusses the same topics starting with Helena, the loss of Gerard and Mikey’s grandmother Elena. Gerard discusses how he wishes he was able to spend more time with his grandmother, as she was a big part of his life. The saddening verse of  “We’ll meet again when both our cars collide” implicating that they will be together again when the other passes. My Chemical Romance were able to grasp the raw, intense emotions of loss and anger compared to Bullets, but also managed to include a heartbreaking story to capture all the rage and sadness. 

Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge not only was a milestone for My Chemical Romance, but an unforgettable album itself. The work behind this album put MCR on a higher pedestal at the time. MCR was seen as just another emo group trying to find their way in the crowd. Three Cheers gave them that extra push and they succeeded far beyond anyone's standards. The album still stands as one of the top albums of the 2000’s and still one of my favorite album of all time. I’ll never forget the first time I listened to Three Cheers and felt the rush of emotions hit me. The teenage angst in me came out and immediately found myself memorizing all the lyrics. I listen to Three Cheers at least once a month and find new things about the album each time. I interpret the lyrics differently and find myself connected to each song personally. I’m always surprised how short this album is, as the story it tells feels so long. Nonetheless, Three Cheers is an album I will live by. All the music I listened to as a teenager, Three Cheers has been a timeless hit. With the reunion of My Chemical Romance approaching, I cannot help but imagine which songs ( minus the singles ) will be performed off Three Cheers. I can dream Give Em’ Hell, Kid or Thank You for the Venom, but for now I’m happy just to see them back. In short, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge is an album that I will hold close to me and appreciate the art behind it. My Chemical Romance put out a timeless record that deserves the praise it gets. Only a couple months ago, I accepted the fact that MCR will never come back. But I reminded myself that MCR left the world with this beautiful record. Now, they’re back and I don’t know what holds for the future, but I’m excited to see what's to come from them.