The Bluths are back. If you’re a fan of the third record from My Chemical Romance, you’ve been listening to a retelling of their origins for 12 years.
Arrested Development season 5 will be released next Tuesday. After close examination, we’ve come to the conclusion that My Chemical Romance’s 2006 concept album about a cancer patient’s life and death is actually a 14-song concept album about the Bluths.
In addition to the songs retelling the motivations and antics of the Bluths, the timing also coincides. The first three season of Arrested Development originally aired from November 2, 2003 to February 10, 2016. The Black Parade was recorded between April and August 2006 and was released October 23, 2006.
In no way are we saying MCR lyricist Gerard Way intentionally wrote an album about a television series. We have no evidence that Way or anyone in the band is even a fan. But we do have the most important Lucille 2 singing a song on the album. And art influences art. Why couldn’t some of the Bluths seep into Way’s subconscious when writing an album, especially one that features Lucille Austero as mama?
Here’s a track by track breakdown proving “The Patient” is actually The Bluths.
The pilot of Arrested Development begins with the end of George Sr.’s freedom and the end of the Michael’s involvement with the Bluth’s (at least that’s what he thinks). We’re welcomed to the show by Ron Howard, our trusty, omnipresent narrator.
The first song on The Black Parade also begins with a literal welcome to our tragic affair from our narrator. He alludes looking in the mirror and not liking what you see (George Michael and his muscles or lack therof), being someone you’re not (George Sr and his identical twin brother), and serving a sentence in drag (Tobias as Mrs. Featherbottom).
If Tracey Bluth doesn’t die, goes Michael force a close relationship with his son? Would family come first?
One of the most important Bluth’s is dead before we meet the family.
The pre-chorus lines, “No one ever had much nice to say / I think they never liked you anyway” is an apt description of how Tracey is respected in the Bluth family
3.”This Is How I Disappear”
At first listen, this song appears to be about Bluth magician GOB. It’s not. It’s about George Sr. and his brother.
George is a master of disguise and disappearance. Whether it’s disappearing as his twin brother or living in the attic, disappearing from public life while faking his own death, the patriarch of America’s family understands, “There’s things that I have done / You never should ever know,” because you can’t arrest a husband and wife for the same crime.
4.”The Sharpest Lives”
Sadly, Lindsay Bluth Fünke lives the chorus of “The Sharpest Lives”.
Give me a shot to remember
And you can take all the pain away from me
A kiss and I will surrender
The sharpest lives are the deadliest to lead
5. “Welcome to the Black Parade”
The pinnacle of My Chemical Romance’s career is a song about our protagonist Michael Bluth. It’s a sprawling mission statement about a boy who is trying to become a man, trying to live up this father’s expectations. It goes through multiple movements, multiple emotions, never coming to a finite conclusion on how best to move forward.
The line that most represents our lead is, “I’m just a man, I’m not a hero.” He’s right. He’s not a hero. This week proved there aren’t many heroes in the Bluth family.
6. “I Don’t Love You”
Maeby Fünke doesn’t want to hurt anyone, she just proposes marriage to get out of jams. Rather than let things progress further, she’s breaking it off with all of her suitors, whether they know it or not. Related, it’s also about her alter ego, Surely, dying. Remember her? She’s dying of BS.
7. “House of Wolves”
The line, “Well, I think I’m gonna burn in Hell,” is a fine representation of what dating Ann Veal, better known as Her?, did to the psyche of George Michael.
The saddest song on The Black Parade is actually a secret letter from Lucille Bluth to her family explaining how she’ll be fine.
If you could get me a drink ([Narrated by Ron Howard] She would like a drink.)
Of water cause my lips are chapped and faded
Call my aunt Marie ([Narrated by Ron Howard] She means the Queen Mary.)
Help her gather all my things
And bury me in all my favorite colors ([Narrated by Ron Howard] She planned on being at sea a long time.)
My sisters and my brothers, still
I will not kiss you ([Narrated by Ron Howard] True.)
Cause the hardest part of this is leaving you ([Narrated by Ron Howard] Not true but a nice thing to say.)
9. “Mama” (featuring Liza Minnelli)
The most obvious Bluth song on the album, “Mama” is about Buster’s struggle with pleasing his mother, his mother lover and what he’s done with his “fuck of a gun” (penis). Liza Minnelli, aka Lucille Austero, pleads with dear Buster, “And if you would call me a sweetheart / I’d maybe then sing you a song” and proceeds to weep for an American hero.
The song of a person slipping away, is the song about GOB and his Forget-Me-Nows.
George Michael’s internal monologue about Steve Holt. Steve Holt!
Somewhat surprisingly, Tobias Fünke is represented in “Disenchanted,” a song about watching yourself on the TV screen (as Frightened Inmate #2), the roar of the crowd (as member of Dr. Fünke’s 100% Natural Good-Time Family Band Solution ), running from the cops (the hot cops gang) and a lack of meaning (his marriage).
13. “Famous Last Words”
We’ve already heard George Sr.’s anthem so closing the album is his twin brother Oscar’s last gasp plea for Lucille’s love. To Lucille’s chagrin, “Nothing you can say can stop me going home.”
The bonus track on the concept album corresponds to the bonus scenes in the television. Each episode of Arrested Development closed with, “On the next Arrested Development…” with a scene or two of a fake beginning for the next episode. “Blood” is about the final scene of the season two, episode eleven “Out on a Limb.”
“And Buster is on his way when he decides to pursue a long-delayed rite of passage and then a seal bites off his hand.”