Cheeses of Suburbia: Welcome to the mozz parade

Zachary Hertz (ZH): We’re listening to My Chemical Romance’s (MCR) “The Black Parade” (2006) with tech enthusiast and YouTube celeb Dylan Hong, for whom both mozzarella sticks and pop punk have been a staple since early childhood. We have sticks from Wegmans, a store which holds a special place in Dylan’s heart — as an immigrant, his father worked there to help pay for school.

Brady Shea (BS): There are a lot of sticks. Good thing I didn’t eat dinner.

Dylan Hong (DH): Good thing I took a Lactaid for this. The flavor and texture are good, but I wish they were fresh.

ZH: They’re an improved Commons stick in every way. Definitely room for improvement though — 7/10.

DH: The sauce is a little watery. I’m going to give these a 6, maybe 6.5.

BS: Yeah, it wasn’t the flavor I was expecting. If they were hot, easily an 8.5/10 but as-is, 7.8/10.

ZH: Dylan, any thoughts on this album?

DH: It’s the second album I ever listened to. It’s a concept album about a dying patient whose life flashes before his eyes. It’s about reflecting on your life and the people that you liked and hated, and why you did the sort of stuff that middle schoolers love to do.

BS: It’s niche but I got into this album after playing “Dead!” on Guitar Hero 2, and then I listened to “The Black Parade.”

DH: Did you know the original name of the track “Welcome to the Black Parade” was “The Five of Us Are Dying”? But MCR members are all superstitious, and when there was a minor accident, they changed the name to fit the concept album.

BS: It’s a classic, but what else is there to say about it?

ZH: (“I Don’t Love You” comes on.) Oof. I’ve purposely not listened to this for a while because, these days, I’m happy.

DH: I got an iPod Touch when starting my video production days, which I do professionally now. Using an app that let me film in slow-mo and black and white, I took a video walking around with this song on, then posted it to Facebook. (“Mama” comes on.) I think Gerard Way said that “Mama” is the song he’s most proud of on this album – it’s weird and clashes with their style but brings a new level of theatricality.

ZH: It always vaguely reminds me of a carnival. It’s unnerving in a magical realism way.

BS: (“Famous Last Words” comes on.) I just had the worst flashback. I’m in eighth grade, on my bed, crying.

DH: I remember listening to this song, covers over my head and writing poetry.

ZH: I’m going to spend the rest of this week listening to this album. Every song is well produced with a surprising amount of sound diversity. 8.5/10 from me.

BS: I vibe with that. A musically incredible album.

DH: You can tell he’s giving it his all in every song on this album. He acts into the characters and actually lives in this concept world. It’s hard for me to give the album a number rating because it got me into music. Emotionally a 10/10 and as a piece of art, 9/10.


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