MCR’s Cryptic Clues


My Chemical Romance is back, and fans are intrigued. The band are known for their commitment to aesthetics, and after their reunion they are no different. Their merchandise, stage shows, and promotional materials so far have several motifs that are echoed in their new song, “The Foundations Of Decay”. 



The visualizer for “The Foundations Of Decay”  appears to show a blanket of flies, wriggling around in a swarm. Flies are also pictured on several pieces of merchandise sold on their tour. Flies are associated with decay, which echoes the name of the song. Also pictured is the word “swarm”, which is what groups of flies are often referred to as.


Skeleton Masks and Hooded Figures

Several promotional videos have featured figures wearing black cloaks and hoods, and skeleton masks covering their entire faces. These figures have also been depicted in posters sold as merchandise, in a dreary, destroyed landscape. Perhaps one might describe the landscape as “decaying”.



The band have, during at least one show, played for the audience a video which appears to be a nature documentary about rats, which depicts swarms of them invading homes, and details the process of exterminating the rats. A friendly Reddit user uploaded it here for your viewing pleasure.

Rats are associated with decay and decomposition, similar to the motif of flies. Both animals also swarm in groups. Interestingly, this swarming behavior is echoed in the lyrics of their new single, as Way sings, “as the vermin crawls” and “as the swarming calls”.

Rats have also historically been known to spread the plague, which Way echoed in a speech at a recent concert which ended with him exclaiming, “Embrace the world, embrace the plague, embrace the uncertain!”


In Conclusion

What world is MCR trying to draw us into this time? What journey are we being invited to take with them? What we have seen so far paints a picture of a world falling apart, plagued by pests like rats and flies.  Perhaps this fantasy world reminds us very much of our own. And yet, even as we are painted a bleak picture of a decaying world, Gerard Way declares to us that we should embrace these things.

What is the “swarm”? Who are the hooded figures? Feel free to leave your theories down below!


Images cropped from Tone Deaf