Taking a page from the Green Day playbook in a transparent bid for critical and commercial validation, New Jersey-based punk-poppers My Chemical Romance have unleashed the ambitious, somber "The Black Parade." Overdosed on Pink Floyd and Queen to a spectacular degree, My Chemical Romance spend much of their third full-length album providing a nation of tweeners with an emo "The Wall" of their very own; fairly trembling under the weight of its own pretensions, "The Black Parade" features some powerful songs undone by oblique lyrics that rail against nothing. While "American Idiot" is clearly the blueprint here, My Chemical Romance misplaces that other crucial ingredient: relevance. There will always be angry teens, but Green Day's masterwork connected with listeners of all ages because the band had something potent to say. Straining toward art is a trait to be encouraged in these young, MTV-saturating bands, but you need more than a slick aesthetic to make your mark.
- Preston Jones