Gerard Way photographed live by Kim Erlandsen
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The 15 Best My Chemical Romance Songs

When it comes to the best My Chemical Romance songs, there are an abundance to choose from. This makes it difficult. Then when you consider everyone has hotly debated preferences for their favourite song, it gets a whole lot harder. 

The thing with My Chemical Romance is most of these songs resemble a time in people’s lives. For most Millenials and Generation Z, this band defined their teenage years and helped them through them, making them feel like they weren’t outcasts. No matter what order you’d place these songs in, this list is my personal opinion. Anyway, let’s strap in and get into the list…

The List

1. "Famous Last Words" - The Black Parade (2006)

“Famous Last Words” tops our list, and reasons are abundant. The powerful end to The Black Parade’s gradual crescendo, this song erupts into an anthemic and intense track that conveys the final message of the concept album’s story. The opening stabby chords make way for fast-paced guitars and Gerard Way’s meteoric vocal cries. 

Standing out with its punk-driven musical roots, the song breaks into a poignant and sensitive bridge section, which delivers a heartfelt message before also bursting into a screaming chorus to wrap up the album. Emotionally driven and dealing with the topic of life finally ending, you cannot listen to this song without shivers being sent down your spine. All of this combined is why I believe it is My Chemical Romance’s most important song. 

2. "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004)

Now for a song that speaks to the rebellious teen within, “I’m Not Okay”. Being the first single released from the album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, the song wasn’t just a teenage anthem it was an energetic call to arms for teenagers to be who they want to be. This song would strike a chord and propel the band into the mainstream. 

The opening chords, courtesy of Ray Toro, set us up for the chaotic energy we are in for. The lyrics depict life as a teenager, doing crazy things and getting caught up in the drama of high school. The Chorus on the other hand develops into a rebellious chant. Whenever this song comes on before a gig or at a bar, you are guaranteed to get a series of roars when the chorus hits. 

As a song that resonated with teenage culture, established the band’s primary audience, and remains just as iconic to this day, of course, it had to be in the top five! 

3. "Helena" - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004)

Our second in a row from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, “Helena” is an emotionally charged anthem about the passing of Gerard and Mikey Way’s grandmother. The opening tremolo riff combines with the breathy vocal delivery to create an initial fragility before breaking-out into the high-octane guitar parts that are now synonymous with MCR. 

Dealing directly with the topic of loss, the song’s lyrics focus on coming to terms with the death of a loved one. Lines such as “So long and Goodnight” symbolise acceptance, showcasing the close relationship between the singer and the deceased, but also letting go. The bridge of this song is perfect, it is crafted to bring the song’s energy down while still having a thick, whirling texture behind the spoken vocals. The lyrics, at this moment, move towards a more direct conversation with the deceased, with the speaker searching for answers from the grave. 

A perfect setup for what was to come for the rest of the album there couldn’t have been a better start to Three Cheers.

4. "House of Wolves" - The Black Parade (2006)

Fierce and aggressive, “House of Wolves” is a punk anthem through and through. From the thunderous opening guitar riff to the relentless pace, the track sets a tone that is distinctly My Chemical Romance. Intense guitars, driven drumming from Bob Bryar, and growled vocals from Gerard give you vibes of the ’70s punk classics.

Positioned just after “I Don’t Love You” in the album The Black Parade, it’s safe to say it sparks you back into the mood for what is to follow. The lyrics tackle the topic of the protagonist going to hell for his sins, and contrasting it with everyone thinking of what he is. Lines like “Tell me I’m a bad man” are immediately followed by “Tell me I’m an Angel”, showing the battle of morality in the song.

If you want My Chemical Romance at the most raw and energetic, there isn’t a song much better suited to deliver on that. 

5. " Welcome to The Black Parade" - The Black Parade (2006)

The Big One. This song is so recognisable that all anyone has to hear is that G-note, and they burst out into chorus. An anthemic song, I always see “Welcome to the Black Parade” as their “Bohemian Rhapsody” as it is the grand accumulation of the band’s musicality. The reason it is not higher is I also believe it isn’t the best example of the band’s signature sound if that makes sense. It’s almost too polished. 

But crikey, this song hits hard. The almost 1m 40s emotional build at the beginning finally erupts, and the classic, high-octane playing of Ray Toro and the rest of the band kicks in. You can see the Brian May influence throughout, with killer solos and running lead lines. The bridge and the ending of the song also work as a statement in line with the concept of the story while also being a chant for rebellious teenagers. 

Their most commercially successful song, it managed to get the band to number one in the UK and reach the heights of number 9 in the US. This is incredible for what is an alternative rock song. This song just from its impact alone, deserves to be near the top of My Chemical Romance’s best songs.

If you want to read more about the band’s creation of the album head here.

6. "Thank You For the Venom" - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004)

Venomous is a suitable way to describe this song. Packed with so much anger from start to finish, this song never relents. From the opening riff, which is fast and scalic, leading into the creepy and then suddenly screamed vocal melody, it all combines for a song that sounds spiteful. The track comes across as a confrontation with words such as “You’re running after something That you’ll never kill, If this is what you want, Then fire at will” sounding bitter, as if the protagonist is trying to prove a point.

An embodiment of the band’s refusal to conform, the song is the perfect way to release built-up tension. In the big picture, “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”, this track is a testament to the band’s ability to be unapologetically intense and uncompromisingly authentic. If you are uncertain about the love for this song in the MCR fandom you need to see when this riff hits, the crowd always launch into screams of excitement.

7. "Disenchanted" - The Black Parade (2006)

An outlier within the list of My Chemical Romance’s songs, “Disenchanted”, gives a heartfelt, melancholic retelling of the past. The lyrics seem to tell a story of an opportunity lost. It comes across like the narrator feels like his life has slipped through his fingers, and has spent most of it waiting for this fate. The song’s calmer instrumentation allows the lyrics to take centre stage, creating a moment of emotional significance.

This doesn’t mean that the guitar playing isn’t still impressive. Ray Toro still embeds his melodic licks in there, although they serve the song more here than their usual slightly more pronounced placement. The bridge introduces a subtle shift in dynamics, with a gradual build-up that leads to a cathartic release. The highlight of the song is how it resolves the bridge, conveying the acceptance of the protagonist’s outcome with the final climax. You can see why, to this day, it is one of the band’s most streamed songs.

8. "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)" - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2010)

The opener to Danger Days, this song signified the start of the new sound of My Chemical Romance. Energetic and while still showcasing the non-forgiving rebellious attitude, “Na Na Na” combines a pop-sensitive sound with their classic punk rock foundations. A complete departure from the sombre tones of The Black Parade, this album showcased the band’s willingness to reinvent themselves.

Poignant in message, the song is about people striving to better themselves. The message is clearest in the bridge with the lyrics “Everybody wants to change the world, but no one wants to try” symbolising the rebellious nature effectively. This is full-stopped by a searing guitar solo that flies off with Toro’s melodic playing. “Na Na Na” may have given some die-hard MCR fans whiplash from the difference at the time, but over time it has earned its stripes to be on this list.

9. "The Ghost of You" - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004)

Out of all My Chemical Romance’s songs, “Ghost of You” hits me the hardest. Telling a story of losing a lover, this song works to create delicate verses and contrasts them with the cataclysmic choruses. The lead guitar opens the song and continues through the verse weaving between Gerard’s delicate vocal lines and Frank Iero’s steady rhythm parts. Overall you feel the melancholy and pain in these moments. 

While you feel the pain in the verse, when the Chorus hits the vocal delivery turns to agonising shrieks, it’s brilliant songwriting. The brilliance of the wartime references with lines like “At the end of the world, or the last thing I see, You are never coming home” can position the desperation, pain, and lack of control that Way is trying to convey.  Gut-wrenching and serving as this album’s emotional centre point, “Ghost of You” gets a high spot in my mind

10. "Sleep" - The Black Parade (2006)

“Sleep” was inspired by Gerard and Mikey’s experiences, while staying at the Paramour Estate. Both claimed the mansion was haunted after experiencing weird things, including night terrors, which Gerard recorded and featured during the song’s introduction. These recordings are played over delicate piano chords, which create a more sombre tone, eventually punctuated by two cutting snare hits.

What sets “Sleep” apart is its ability to be atmospheric, delivering a break from the high energy of the tracks beforehand. A song that demands attention; “Sleep” invites listeners to get lost in its deep and rich textures. Cleverly creating a dreamscape, Gerard adopts a softer tonality, becoming more contemplative than aggressive. Gerard’s vocals soar in the chorus becoming ethereal belting the lyrics with refined emotion.

11. "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville" - I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002)

An early example of the band’s versatility, this song shows a moment of refinement in what is generally a messier album than their three others. Beautifully melodic the track is reserved in the right ways, but you can still hear the influences that would transpire more strongly in their later work. Filled with pain this song is based on the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead, and tells the story of someone being forced to kill their partner who is becoming a zombie, yeah it’s a dark theme.

The emotional intelligence, songwriting, and creative spark are on full display with “Early Sunsets over Monroeville”, even if it sounds like the band are still learning how to execute their vision. Gerard’s vocals are raw as he becomes more urgent the further along the song goes, conveying a sense of desperation that aligns with the apocalyptic themes of the song.

12. "Summertime" - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2010)

“Summertime” might not be a song that springs to mind when you think of MCR, but it does encapsulate the development of the band’s sound. You have a different tone from the previous two albums. This is established from the get-go with a melodic and, more importantly, a clean guitar riff. The riff is then backed with calmer vocal lines and more direct drum patterns, creating a tone that is both nostalgic and mesmerising. 

The line “You can run away with me anytime you want” reinforces this established nostalgia with an element of escapism, working with the album’s dystopian future concept. A testament to Gerard Way and the band’s emotional development, this track stands here as a monumental aside from the angst, energy, and aggression the band usually opts for. You can just imagine yourself listening to this song while in a daydream and thinking about a brighter future. 

13. "Demolition Lovers" - I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002)

The climactic end of I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love,Demolition Lovers” is the closest to Three Cheers on this album. More refined, despite the long run time, the song showcases the band’s ability to craft dark atmospheres while also showing pop sensibility and punk-driven guitars. Telling the story of doomed lovers, as is the consensus theme with this album, Gerard uses supernatural imagery and mixes them with cliches of romance. 

The guitar playing within the song delivers moments of tranquillity, like in the intro and bridge, and moments of high-gain destruction, as in the chorus. For me, this song was a signal of what was to come, with all the signs pointing to the band’s future prowess for songwriting and that is why I believe it is one of My Chemical Romance’s best songs. 

14. "Destroya" - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2010)

“Destroya” shows that MCR didn’t lose their venom fully. Gerard’s vocals are reminiscent of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge filled with bitterness and speaking of those at a disadvantage. The guitars are somewhat dissonant, but still spirited following the vocal line during the choruses and are borderline chaotic during the verses.

The rhythms featured in the song are tribal, especially during the introduction and the break. This is all done to emphasise the post-apocalyptic tribalism of the Killjoys, who are fighting against their adversaries. This combined makes this song a chant against authority applying to both the context of the theme, and resonating within the real world among My Chemical Romance’s fans. 

15. "I Don't Love You" - The Black Parade (2006)

“I Don’t Love You” is pretty much My Chemical Romance’s first shot at a power ballad, and crikey it hits hard! Dealing with the realisation that love has faded in a relationship, MCR create a beautiful delicate soundscape with delicate and breathy guitars and softly sung melodies. The choruses contrast this, building up and allowing Gerard to release the full potential of his vocal range.

Embracing vulnerability the song does away with the band’s hard-fronted version of punk and maximises the band’s alternative rock purist capabilities they showcase sometimes. Sensitive and fragile may not be the words to describe many My Chemical Romance songs, but they work to describe the atmosphere established here.

Best My Chemical Romance Songs

Now that wasn’t easy! Here are some songs that just missed the cut. Ask me on a different day and most of these would find their way into the list: 

“The Light Behind Your Eyes” – Conventional Weapons (Number Three) (2012) 

“S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W” – Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys (2010)

You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison – Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (2004)

“Cancer” – The Black Parade (2006)

“Dead!” – The Black Parade (2006)

“To The End”Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (2004)

Now I think of it, any could go on here!

If you want to read more about My Chemical Romance head here!  

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