My Chemical Romance | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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My Chemical Romance

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Great concept albums like Ziggy Stardust, Sgt. Pepper's, and The Village Green Preservation Society are one of the most compelling arguments for rock 'n' roll as a legitimate art form--the serious novel to the pop single's penny dreadful. But there's something to be said for Kiss's Music From "The Elder", Garth Brooks's weird Chris Gaines thing, and all the other records where not-quite-geniuses make the leap at serious artistry and fall totally short. They may be failing, but they're failing extravagantly, and hubris is a good look for rock stars. My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade (Reprise)--an overwrought pileup of Queen-size grandiosity and mall-punk sneer with an alleged story line I still can't parse after dozens of listens--belongs somewhere between column A and column B. Nothing on the album is as brilliant as the lead single, "Welcome to the Black Parade," but the band has enough charisma to keep even its boldest, worst ideas--like the beer-hall sing-along with Liza Minnelli on "Mama"--from crashing and burning. Rise Against opens. a 7:30 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont, 847-635-6601 or 312-559-1212, $30. A

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