My Chemical Romance, a former alt-rock band from New Jersey, was usually known for having music videos that came equipped with elaborate sets, multiple costume changes and most importantly a dramatic story-line. Whether it be the story of a man dying from cancer, a group of rebels fighting society in the desert, or soldiers fighting in World War II, My Chemical Romance’s music videos are rarely simple. However, when the band decides to focus solely on the music, the result is anything but boring. Such was the case with the music video for ‘Famous Last Words’, the second single from 2006’s The Black Parade.
The video, which was shot immediately following the filming of ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’, features the band playing in front of a wall of flames. The video begins with all band members lying down, and quickly escalates into the fivesome performing in an almost insane manner. Beyond the dramatics, it captures an intimacy rarely seen in music videos when frontman, Gerard Way, looks directly into the camera and sings “I am not afraid to keep on living/ I am not afraid to walk this world alone” before mumbling something indiscernible about a hotel mirror – you get the sense that he truly means it. By the time the song reaches its bridge, they’re rolling around the dirt floor.
The magic captured in this one-take music video comes at a price. Drummer Bob Bryar had his leg set alight and was hospitalized for gangrene; frontman Gerard Way tore all the ligaments in his foot; the other three band members all suffered cuts and bruises. Their injuries resulted in a cancellation of one of their concerts. However, their suffering was not in vain as ‘Famous Last Words’ has over 64 million views on YouTube, and continues to be a fan favourite even after the band has disbanded.
Overall, the video is a perfect representation of My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade era – dramatic, desperate, inspirational with a healthy dose of neo-gothic imagery. It is watching music videos like these, that are unparalleled in the world of music videos, that reminds fans how much less exciting a place the alternative rock world is to be without the glory that was My Chemical Romance.