Artist: Various Artists
Album: Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge: an Encore
Remember how excited we all were when it was announced that there would be a tribute album for My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade, put on by ROCK SOUND, no less?! Some of the best bands of today, covering some of your favorite jams of the 00s (no need to lie to yourself). Now, remember when you were CRUSHED by how bad that particular compilation was? Be prepared to have your faith in tribute albums restored! On Halloween of this year, Ghost Killer Entertainment/We Are Triumphant are prepared to bring you the tribute album you always craved but never knew could exist. 2004’s Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge gets a beautiful makeover by bands like The Funeral Portrait, Outline in Color, She Sees Ghosts, Osatia and many, many more! Some of these covers are pretty close to their original counterparts but there are some really unique ones, as well. So put on your eyeliner and black clothing, revisit that teenage angst and relive one of the best albums of the early 00s. This won’t be a track-by-track review but I’ll do my best to cover as much as I can on it… as I know some of you are wanting to know how some covers fair over others.
Let’s start with The Funeral Portrait and “Helena.” This is, easily, one of the most widely-recognized tracks from MCR and served as their way into the spotlight. Vocalist Lee Jennings opted for a more modern approach with the track, changing up the melody of the first verse, first chorus and second verse before building into the beautiful, nostalgic and heartbreaking melody we’ve all come to love over the years. The track begins slow, haunting and almost eerie, building to the point that you can just TELL that Jennings was waiting to get to. Being a band that was influenced, like so many, by MCR… these guys knocked it out of the park in so many ways. Be sure to check out the lyric video below, featured on Ghost Killer Entertainment’s channel.
Still, some bands chose to take this opportunity to completely change up their interpretations of the tracks. For example, Beneath the Waves (who also did the interlude track), take “The Jetset Life is Gonna Kill You” and turn it into a more indie rock vibe, almost entirely acoustic and changing up the melodies just ever slightly, to truly make it their own. This track is a standout on the compilation, for me, because of the fact that it deviates so much from the original. It was a very bold move that turned out incredibly successful and, honestly, I think might be a fan favorite once fans get to hear it in full.
The last, truly unique cover on the compilation comes from Woven in Hiatus, who tackle “Hang ‘Em High,” a sarcastic, western sounding tune to a whole new level. Again, opting for a slower arrangement, they turn this track elegant and almost lullaby-like. Very few electric elements to this track give it a very somber, daunting tone. Again, this was another incredibly bold move that turned out quite successful. I was terrified of the idea of a band covering this song because, honestly, I felt the upbeat approach and the way that Way’s vocals seethe with venom and sarcasm was something that couldn’t be matched. I was clearly wrong.
There’s something that was quite satisfying when Zack showed me the final track list, with each band next to their cover, and seeing that a band called… you guessed it Cemetery Drive covered “Cemetery Drive.” Again, this track doesn’t deviate very far from the original… but they did an excellent job with it.
The album is rounded out by Not My Weekend‘s cover of “I Never Told You What I Do for a Living,” which incorporates some symphonic, electronic and even sampled elements. Having heard Not My Weekend’s original music prior to this, I pictured this band doing the cover and couldn’t have been more impressed with it. They’ve got an extra job, on top of creating a memorable cover… to close out the album in spectacular fashion. “Oh, never again. Oh, never again. They gave us two shots to the back of the head and we’re all… dead… now” has never sounded like more of a call of victory, than it does with this cover.
Still, there are covers like “Thank You for the Venom,” by Outline in Color, “You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison” by Osatia and, of course, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” by Vanish that stick closer to the original but are excellent examples of what can happen when a band truly takes pride in paying tribute to an artist. The attention to detail in each and every aspect of this release cannot be overlooked. Zack Meegan and Greg Long clearly held this idea in high regard and made sure that it was nothing less than perfect. Even with the occasional hiccup in their release timeline, they managed to put out a shining example of what a tribute album SHOULD be. If you haven’t pre-ordered Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge: an Encore yet, definitely do yourselves a favor and head to iTunes to do so.
Artist: Various Artists