Top Ten Tuesday: Books & Music


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Books and Music. These are two of my favourite things, but I rarely put them together (except for the thing I wrote here). So I’ve decided to make a list of songs that are based on literature/authors and/or make literary references.

I know there are a lot more out there – especially David Bowie and Radiohead and The Cure and whatnot – but I limited the list to songs I’m really familiar with.

1) “Resistance” – Muse; based on George Orwell’s 1984

2) “Time to Dance” – Panic! at the Disco; based on Chuck Palahuick’s Invisible Monsters

3) “Legendary” – The Summer Set; references J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan

4) “Painting Flowers” – All Time Low; references Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

5) “Weight of Living (Pt. 1)” – Bastille; based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

6) “To the End” – My Chemical Romance; based on William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

7) “Win Some, Lose Some” – You Me At Six; references Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games

8) “Back to Life” – Paradise Fears; references S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders

9) “Bukowski” – Moose Blood; refers to the author, Charles Bukowski

10) “Sowing Season” – Brand New; the second verse is inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”, and the title of the song comes from Stephen King’s Secret Window, Secret Garden

I’m positive I’m missing really obvious ones from my music collection, but those were the ones I came up with (of course, there would have been more if I repeated artists, such as All Time Low’s “Somewhere in Neverland”, Bastille’s “Icarus”, and Paradise Fears’ “Stories in the Dark”, etc).

Let me know in the comments if you think of other songs that could make this list!

You believe in love, I believe in faith

I’ve mentioned before that I (foolishly) didn’t listen to My Chemical Romance until after they broke up (because sometimes I make poor decisions). Consequently, I never got to see them live. But yesterday, we went to Gerard Way’s solo show, and I got a taste of what an MCR concert would have been like.
hesitant alien

The opening band, Nuns,was okay. Not the greatest, but probably not the worst we’ve ever heard. Ro called them a “wannabe White Stripes”, while I compared them to early Muse, but not as good. There was a lot of long guitar solos and the occasional high pitched vocals; I love Muse, so while I love Matt Bellamy’s falsetto, I know that not everyone can pull it off.

The best song in their set was “Melanie Bryn” which they dedicated to Gerard Way; that was the song that made you understand why he had chosen them to be his openers, since it has the same vibe as much of his solo stuff.

Gerard came out at nine on the dot and played for a solid hour-and-a-bit, including a one-song encore. I have to admit that, while I recognize most of the songs, I only know the words to about three of them, but it didn’t stop me from having a good time.

Fair warning: if you attend a Gerard Way solo show (or a solo show by any of the other members of MCR), don’t go in expecting to be welcomed to the black parade or have a bunch of “na na na’s” thrown at you. Gerard’s solo stuff has a completely different vibe to most of MCR’s catalogue. His album, Hesitant Alien, is more glam rock and the boppier parts of Danger Days, but they sound great live.

There’s a hint of the theatrical in pretty much everything Gerard Way does. Whether he’s prancing around on stage or waving his arms to get the crowd to participate – which everyone willing did – he’s every inch a showman. I imagine he was the same way at an MCR show, but with more make-up. At the same time, he also made sure to express his gratitude to the fans, the people who, in his words, made it possible for him to make more music.

He also made it a point to show his love and support for transgender/non-binary people, as well as those who have/had any sort of mental illness. I follow him on Twitter, and he’s pretty vocal about those kinds of issues, but it’s always nice when a band member – especially someone as respected and (relatively) prominent as him – starts the conversation at a show. You wouldn’t necessarily expect it, but certain music scenes are very accepting and it’s amazing that they – the bands and their fans – continue to support people who much of society might still see as “different” or “not normal”.

If you’ve ever been an MCR fan, it’s worth seeing Gerard live. And if you’re looking for an hour of solid live music, then I absolutely recommend taking in one of his shows.

Welcome to the black parade

One of my biggest music-related regrets is the fact that I only started listening to My Chemical Romance after they broke up.

Frank, Gerard, Mikey, and Ray. 

I don’t know why I didn’t listen to them before. I listened to – and continue to listen to – most of their “contemporaries”: mainly Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy. So why not MCR?

It could be many reasons. Perhaps their “Black Parade”-era make-up scared me (similar to the way I avoid looking at pictures of Black Veil Brides). Maybe I thought they were screamy (sure, now I have a higher tolerance for screaming/metal in general, but high school me? Not so much). Or maybe – and this is most likely – because there was a girl at school who I didn’t like (and who didn’t like me) who was obsessed with them. An “I don’t want to be associated with her in any way” type of thing? Sounds like something I’d do.

Then, late last year/early this year, I finally decided to listen to MCR. And of course loved them. And then felt sad for a while because I realized that I will never get to see them live because they broke up in March 2013 and, since they all seem to be content with doing solo stuff, there seems to be a very small chance of a reunion tour.

Their last song as a band, released on their “Greatest Hits” album.

Of course, it’s not as bad as if I had been a fan for years and found out they broke up. I’ve been there a couple of times (*coughTHEACADEMYIScough*), and it sucks, so I oddly feel sad for the people who had been hardcore MCR fans and never saw them live. I’m sure they put on fantastic shows.

Fun fact: Colleen Atwood designed the costumes in this video. Colleen Atwood frequently works with Tim Burton. I love Tim Burton and all things related to him. I’m kicking my past-self for dropping the ball on being part of the MCR family when they were still a band.

Despite being compared to early-P!ATD or FOB, MCR is unique in their ability to combine several different genres and styles in a way that both makes sense and is genuinely pleasing.

I can’t say that I’ve become a “hardcore” MCR fan. I don’t plaster my walls with their faces or listen to them every day (I’ve only listened to their first album, 2002’s I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, once or twice; I must admit that I prefer 2006’s The Black Parade), but they are a solid band and I wish I had given them a chance a few years ago instead of writing them off because they were a little more macabre than what I was used to.