"Helena" (sometimes titled "Helena (So Long & Goodnight)" on digital retailers such as iTunes) is a song by American rock band My Chemical Romance, and is the third single from their second studio album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. The song is also featured on the soundtrack of the film House of Wax[6] and played in end credits.

"Helena"
Helena-My Chemical Romance single.jpg
Single by My Chemical Romance
from the album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
ReleasedMarch 8, 2005 (2005-03-08)
Format
Recorded2004
Genre
Length3:22
Label
Songwriter(s)My Chemical Romance
Producer(s)
My Chemical Romance singles chronology
"Thank You for the Venom"
(2004)
"Helena"
(2005)
"Under Pressure"
(2005)
Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge track listing
13 tracks
  1. "Helena"
  2. "Give 'Em Hell Kid"
  3. "To the End"
  4. "You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison"
  5. "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)"
  6. "The Ghost of You"
  7. "The Jetset Life is Gonna Kill You"
  8. "Interlude"
  9. "Thank You for the Venom"
  10. "Hang 'Em High"
  11. "It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Fucking Deathwish"
  12. "Cemetery Drive"
  13. "I Never Told You What I Do for a Living"
Music video
"Helena" on YouTube
"Helena (Outtake Version) on YouTube

ReceptionEdit

"Helena" was released to radio on March 8, 2005.[7] The single has become a moderately-selling hit, both in the US and internationally. Way stated in an interview with Channel V that the main influence behind "Helena" was from the song "Aces High" by Iron Maiden and tracks by The Ventures. This song is also My Chemical Romance's sixth overall single. Way described it as representing the band's image and sound, and as such it was often used to end the band's shows. The single was certified as a Gold record in United States. Despite charting lower than their prior hit, "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart peaking at number four where "Helena" peaked at number 11, "Helena" was the band's first crossover hit crossing over to Top 40 radio at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and it also still had more airplay on alternative rock stations.

NME declared that the song was one of the "20 Greatest Goth Tracks" and that it was "a pivotal moment in cross-fertilising goth with emo" and that "MCR spawned a hybrid that ensured black clothes and eyeliner became, once again, teenage rebellion's default setting".[8]

Music videoEdit

The music video was shot on-location in the Immanuel Presbyterian Church on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, directed by Marc Webb, and choreographed by Michael Rooney. The video has a simple plot, with Gerard Way as a very emotional mourner at a funeral where the band is performing. There are also mourners who dance and mourn the death of Helena. Near the end, the dead body of Helena (played by actress and dancer Tracy Phillips) rises and dances down the nave representing crossing over into the afterlife. After she falls back into the casket, the pallbearers (also played by My Chemical Romance and a fan named Cameron) carry the casket to the hearse (in the pouring rain), surrounded by a phalanx of dancing men and women with umbrellas.

Though the song in general is about the band members Gerard Way and Mikey Way's late grandmother, it was stated in an interview[which?] that the video told a different story. The music video shows the funeral of a girl, who, according to Gerard Way, died tragically (possibly in a car crash, with the line in the bridge of the song, "When both our cars collide." Which also has links to the final track on I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love which is follows the story of the Demolition Lovers who are travelling in car “And I would drive on to the end with you” which the story also follows in Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.) The sixth pallbearer and the majority of the mourners are fans who'd received emails from the band asking if they'd like to be in the video.

During the "Making of..." video, found as a bonus on the Life on the Murder Scene CD and DVD, it was noted that Frank Iero, while joking about being "4'9"", didn't actually carry any weight of the casket, and that it rested on the other band members and their sixth pallbearer to carry the weight. Also noted was that the rain used in the sequence between the church and the hearse wasn't planned for, but the director used it to his advantage, as it set the mood of a funeral.

The video was nominated for five Moonmen at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Rock Video, Best Choreography, Best New Artist, and the MTV2 and Viewer's Choice Awards (both of which are chosen by viewers). They lost to bands such as Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and The Killers. Though the band did not win any awards, they did do a surprise performance of the song towards the end of the show. They also won an MTV Video Music Awards Latin America "tongue" for the Best New Artist – International. They also won a Best Video award in the 2005 Kerrang! Awards. In November 2005, the video was nominated for two MTVU Woodie Awards (voted on by college students) and won the Woodie of the Year. In the Philippines, Helena has reached a cult-like status because of the popularity of alternative music.

The video was also voted number one by viewers of MTV Latinamerica in the 2005 "100 Most Wanted Videos" and was named the seventeenth best music video of the 21st century since 2000 by Billboard on July 24, 2018.[9]

The video was uploaded to YouTube on October 22, 2006 and currently has 100 million views as of November 16, 2019.[10]

Track listingEdit

UK promotional CD
No.TitleLength
1."Helena"3:22
UK CD and 7" vinyl
No.TitleLength
1."Helena"3:22
2."I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" (live)3:37
UK DVD
No.TitleLength
1."Helena" (live video) 
2."I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" (video) 
Australian CD
No.TitleLength
1."Helena"3:22
2."I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" (live from Sessions@AOL)3:37
3."You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us In Prison" (live from Sessions@AOL)3:40
iTunes single
No.TitleLength
1."Helena" (live from the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey)4:14

Credits and personnelEdit

ChartsEdit

Chart (2005) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[11] 78
Germany (Official German Charts)[12] 67
Ireland (IRMA)[13] 46
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 27
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 20
UK Rock and Metal (Official Charts Company)[16] 15
US Billboard Hot 100 33
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 11
US Billboard Mainstream Top 40 32
US Billboard Hot Digital Songs 13
US Billboard Pop 100 32

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Silver 200,000 
United States (RIAA)[18] Gold 500,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom 2005 CD PRO15371
May 23, 2005 7" vinyl
  • W671
  • 5439160437
CD
  • W671CD
  • 5439160432
DVD
  • W671DVD
  • 7599386352
Australia August 22, 2005 CD 9362428022

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Top 100 Emo Songs of All Time". The Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on May 2, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "Dusting 'Em Off: My Chemical Romance – Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  3. ^ Bryant, Tom. "The Top 10 Best My Chemical Romance Songs". TeamRock.
  4. ^ "My Chemical Romance highlights start of Tempe Music Fest". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Release The Bats – It's The 20 Greatest Goth Tracks – NME". NME. 5 March 2009.
  6. ^ "Greatest Movie Themes:Helena(House of Wax)". Greatest Movie Themes. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  7. ^ "FMQB Airplay Archive: Modern Rock". Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Incorporated. Archived from the original on March 22, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  8. ^ "Release The Bats – It's The 20 Greatest Goth Tracks – NME". NME. 5 March 2009.
  9. ^ "The 100 Greatest Music Videos of the 21st Century: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  10. ^ My Chemical Romance (22 October 2006). "My Chemical Romance – Helena [Official Music Video]" – via YouTube.
  11. ^ "Australian-charts.com – My Chemical Romance – Helena". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  12. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – My Chemical Romance – Helena". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  13. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography My Chemical Romance". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  14. ^ "Charts.nz – My Chemical Romance – Helena". Top 40 Singles.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  16. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  17. ^ "British single certifications – My Chemical Romance – Helena". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 13, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Helena in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  18. ^ "American single certifications – My Chemical Romance – Helena". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 24, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.