And so it ends, as all good things eventually do. After announcing their split last March Fake Your Death marks My Chemical Romance’s final entry into their discography – if final still means anything where splits are concerned. Hopefully My Chemical Romance do return one day because, for me, they played a huge part in my ever developing music taste and although I prefer their earlier work there’s no denying that they mean(t) a hell of a lot to a lot of people. They were one of the first ‘darker’ bands I ever listened to, if that’s the right word, and in their music I found a comfort and truth that I still find difficult to really pin down several years later. To say they are (were) an important band would be an understatement, and thankfully their swan song is entirely fitting, seeing them go out with neither a bang or a whimper, but instead opting for a genuine and somewhat moving piece of music from a band who always did things a little differently. Fake Your Death is a song that both the band and the fans that supported them can be proud of, and it’s an excellent farewell.
The track starts with a simple and jaunty piano into and adds layers as it progresses, without going over the top. Fake Your Death is gorgeously reserved, in that it doesn’t do too much or too little, but opts to hover in between, with shining guitar harmonies underlying fanfare instrumentals and vulnerable yet powerful vocals. Gerard Way is excellent as always and his trademark vocals are much calmer, rising to the occasion but rarely rising in the way they normally do. It still makes for an emotional delivery that doesn’t lose any of its impact as a result. He knows exactly what he’s aiming for and why he’s singing it, and the rest of the band seem to feel the same, because as a whole everything comes together brilliantly. It may not be their most adventurous, or the grandiose parting some may have been expecting, but it serves a purpose and it serves it admirably.
Fake Your Death is as honest as the band said it would be, holding nothing back but subtly so. For a song intended as a eulogy of sorts it works, as Way sings ‘Some people hope, some people pay, but why’d we have to stay?’. It all suggests that maybe things have run their course, and the reflective lyrics and the nostalgic video that accompanies it suggest likewise, despite the songs oddly upbeat tone. It may come across as the end of a chapter but it also carries an odd sort of optimism in the way it plays out as the line ‘Look at all the pain’ fades out for the final time. Despite being the bands final song there’s a life to it, and if Fake Your Death is how My Chemical Romance bow out then they do so on their own terms, in fine fashion. Way seems to sing walking away from the microphone and as the song closes you picture Ray Toro, Frank Lero and Mikey Way casting their guitars aside. Fake Your Death manages to capture My Chemical Romance’s split exceptionally well, and as a result it’s an equally exceptional final body of work.
My Chemical Romance aren’t exactly known for their slow burners, and by their standards Fake Your Death is a slow burner that keeps the fire the band created burning long after it’s finished. Above all else, it seems like the right way to go out, and I suppose that’s all anyone could really want from it.
So long and goodnight.