Those of us with the rightly curated Twitter feeds have heard the news by now: My Chemical Romance is back. The band announced a show on December 20 in Los Angeles, their first performance since calling it a day in 2012. The fact that a Hot Topic band can grip the internet with reunion news in the TikTok era speaks greater volumes than the fact that they are actually coming back together for a night.
This reunion show does not suggest too much for us to speculate over. Right now, there aren’t any plans on the book for an album, single, or more shows beyond the one in December. This could change in the coming weeks, but the grip of this show’s announcement alone speaks to the band’s distinct staying power.
Despite what deep-in-the-weeds emo fans may think, there are few bands who have transcended their era as well as My Chemical Romance. The band’s music has gripped everyone from the Hot Topic nostalgics, indie icons, and even the youth of TikTok. While the scene’s deep cuts may bring cheers and shouts at an Emo Night, it is My Chemical Romance whose music has stood the test of time.
Whether this show is part of a larger tour or not, the band’s legacy among the strongest of the mall emo revolution is quite safe. Fall Out Boy is one of the most popular bands from this scene, and is joining two of their most esteemed contemporaries, Green Day and Weezer, on a 46 date stadium tour next year. The band may be in the midst of a second wind, but the foundation of their staying power lies in the same scene that has loyally gassed up My Chemical Romance for almost two decades.
MCR was not nearly as popular as the mega-popular bands on that tour, the years of anticipation and ensuing reaction to this announcement suggests that the band has fixated at the intersection of nostalgia and ingenuity. This news shows a band willing to prove that staying power without faltering to nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake.
To that end, the band did not have to give in to the years of fan anticipation and play this show to satisfy a missing creative urge. Gerard Way released a solo record in 2014, and has since become a successful comic book writer, writing award-winning graphic novels and founding a DC imprint. The band’s three other official members spent time recording on their own, with Frank Iero and Ray Toro collaborating with Reggie and the Full Effect in 2013.
This announcement and its reaction revolves around the staying power of an era that was once seen a fad. Nearly two decades after “emo suicide” tropes and YouTube punchlines, the scene that My Chemical Romance built has adopted appropriately. Jokes about The Black Parade continue run rampant in the right sections of Twitter, while Panic! At the Disco have achieved greater commercial success as a pop band(?) that wraps the 2010s (Glee, socially progressive values, Nate Ruess and Jack Antonoff) into one melodically killer package.
My Chemical Romance may still have a cult following when compared to other 2000s nostalgia puppies, but attributing the excitement behind this one reunion show is not as straightforward as “old emos breaking the internet”. Even as MCR’s legacy stands tall on its own, everyone from fans to the band itself understand the ability for one show to validate a narrative that runs far beyond the virtual walls of the MySpace era.