After their announced reunion in 2019 and tour, My Chemical Romance has released their first new material for nine years with the track ‘The Foundations of Decay’. With no promotion or warning, the song was released on the 12th of May and highlights the fierceness and angst My Chemical Romance have sustained since their departure. Kerenza Hudson takes a look at this enchanting track and provides their take on the band's revival.
The track boasts a six-minute run time, starting with a solemn and emotive intro, with simple guitar chords from Ray Toro, and moving into a prog-rock crescendo. In true My Chem fashion, the song pushes through with a flash of hope, with Gerard’s vocals snarling over an electric guitar. Each chorus feels emotionally raw with muted percussion and soft vocals leading into an explosive chorus which is quintessential 90s rock, bringing back the sounds from their debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. It is a true regression into what My Chemical Romance is known and loved for.
The lyrics have a dark theme throughout the track, even focusing on the 9/11 attacks. "And he was there, the day the towers fell" briefly paints Gerard as the protagonist. The tragic events of 9/11 have been a common focal point for the band as they have previously mentioned how these events lead to the formation of My Chemical Romance, quoting that music had become a form of therapy for Gerard.
Musically, there are notes of some of My Chem’s inspirations, especially The Smashing Pumpkins. I found sections of The Smashing Pumpkins’ Bullet with Butterfly Wings comparable to the ending of The Foundations of Decay with a nostalgic but progressive feel, developing into something new for My Chemical Romance.
"Much like the rest of My Chemical Romance’s discography, the song follows a heavy, emotional storyline with themes of Catholicism, with a portion of the track dedicated to sainthood, death and canonization"
The song has elements which have not yet been explored by the band, including a dark rhythmic section one could call a breakdown. After a screeching halt of the swirling guitar riffs within this breakdown, the listener soon believes that the protagonist of the song is an antihero. Much like the rest of My Chemical Romance’s discography, the song follows a heavy, emotional storyline with themes of Catholicism, with a portion of the track dedicated to sainthood, death and canonization. A line that stands out is, "And so he gets to die a saint, but she will always be the whore", also linking back to their album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and its storyline.
Despite the overwhelming outpour of support and love for the return of MCR’s music, some fans found the mix and heavier style off-putting. Some fans felt that the mixing of the new single was outdated, being compared to the mixing of smaller bands, with the bass being too high and finding it difficult to understand the melody and vocal lines.
"With the protagonist being told to "Get up coward" at the end of the song with a provoking scream highlights the band coming back from their ‘decay’"
The track, with numerous mentions of previous albums paired with the uplifting notations of victory over death, can be seen as a reflection of the band and its return to music. With the protagonist being told to "Get up coward" at the end of the song with a provoking scream highlights the band coming back from their ‘decay’. Gerard, Frank, Mikey and Ray have proved that My Chemical Romance has not lost its charm and have aged well despite the hiatus, coming back with a mature and nostalgic track.
Personally, I loved this track through and through, I was caught up with the emotion from the beginning. It truly brought me back into my emo-teen self, bringing together everything I have loved from the band. I hope to see more from the band in the future and look forward to what they can bring.
Edited by: Roxann Yus
Featured image courtesy of My Chemical Romance via Facebook