Last week Twenty One Pilots excited fans by releasing a new song. Well, new for Twenty One Pilots that is. The release is actually a cover of an old My Chemical Romance song Cancer.
Cancer is one of the quietest and calm tracks in MCR’s repertoire. Cancer, as you perhaps inferred, is not the most cheerful of tracks. The song is narrated by a young cancer patient contemplating their approaching death and unlived life.
Gerard Way has one of the most distinct voices in the music scene. Every word he sings drips with passion and yearning. Way cries out Cancer with a bitter and mournful edge. The heavy piano and vocals give it a much purer sound than the typical MCR.
Many cover songs copy the original to a T, simply replacing the vocals of the song for their own. Twenty One Pilots approached the song in a new way. They put their own melancholic twist on the song to make it their own. The Ohio duo approached the song with a much softer and synthesized sound, slowing down the tempo and eliminating the urgency present in Way’s rendition.
Where Gerard Way screams out, Tyler Joseph stays restrained. Both musicians hold back a little bit on their vocals. It’s as if they’re standing on a ledge, toes over the side, swaying between solid ground and the grand abyss. The intense and emotional subject matter paired with the slightly suppressed sound each band uses is really and it’s really what makes the song work so well—original and cover.
The cover is a very worthy tribute to MCR, but that said, the original does still win out. You can feel the despair almost brush your skin as Way softly screams to you. His blend of melodic and guttural sound creates an emotional level that Joseph’s hushed interpretation can’t quite reach.
Twenty One Pilot’s cover is a part of a new tribute album released by Rock Sounds entitled Rock Sounds Presents: The Black Parade. It’s been 10 years since the release of MCR’s LP The Black Parade. Twenty One Pilots and a host of other bands have come together in this cover compilation to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of this iconic record.
Rock Sound released the tribute album on Sept. 14. They ran out of stock within two days. This has prompted a reprinting of their special edition magazine and prompted a second wave of releases out Sept. 23. There’s no surprise they ran out so soon. The tribute album features covers from many popular bands in the pop punk scene including Ghost Town, Against the Current and Asking Alexandria.
You’ll find no better than Twenty One Pilots, but if you’re interested in checking out the rest of The Black Parade tribute album, feel free to click here.