Republicans versus Democrats, rich verse poor, the world is built on competition between specific subsets of the population, each determined to prove their superiority. This isn’t just a grown up thing, though: it starts young. Before you can vote or even figure out what “business casual” actually means, children already begin their debating career in one of the most important and fundamental questions of their time: My Chemical Romance's original song “Cancer” or the Twenty One Pilots cover-version? Both staples for teen angst, and both equally fantastic bands, teenagers will go to the grave fighting on which one is better. Here at The Tanner Times, I offer a definitive answer:
They’re both garbage.
Now, before I get attacked for spitting on one of the most beloved and controversial songs of the goth teen, I ask why do you listen to these songs? Chances are you don’t have cancer, although maybe you have a loved one who does, but such a heartfelt song about illness would be far too intense to listen to if that were the case. I bet, with the 35 cents left in my bank account, you are reminiscing. The original, grim and lyrically heart crushing song by MCR debuted in 2006, nearly 2 decades ago. The current senior class would have been only 4 years old when the song hit the radio waves, not nearly old enough to develop a comprehensive music taste, better yet grasp what the song was about.
Instead of admitting to this late start, younger generations have indulged themselves in early 2000s music to keep up with older generations. We all want to be part of something, and music trends that we weren’t even around for are no different. The reason the songs are so beloved by millenials is because they grew up with them. They’re catchy reminders of their childhood. Regardless if the song is actually good, due to the memories attached to it there will be a natural inclination to favor, and also vigorously defend each note. In a desperate attempt to fit in with older “cool” kids, we have latched on to this borderline average song, too, even though we have no nostalgic connection to it. Life is about impressing people, we do it every day and every way we can, music taste included. Take people who listen to classic rock and wear it as a badge of honor, all while sitting through 3-minute, unremarkable, guitar solos. All to impress some snotty adults who claim to be the last generation of “good music.” Those that vigorously defend one version of “Cancer” over the other, are no different.
The 2016 release of Twenty One Pilots’ (the MCR of Gen-Z) cover of the original “Cancer” finally gave Gen-Z something to be a part of. A song to link us with older kids at last! No longer was goth culture hoarded and exclusive to now 20-year-olds, and we finally had something to relate with! However, this linking was not appreciated by older generations, claiming the song was a disgrace to the original. The dissent was no longer about the song, though: this was now an older sibling hogging a toy from the younger, claiming it was theirs, regardless if they even actually wanted to play with it. “Cancer” defined millennials, how dare us rotten youngsters try to claim it as our own. Lyrical composition went out the window and it just became a generational war, each respective song a weapon. We don't actually like one song more than the other, we just use it as a means to justify a dislike for other generations. The desperate grapple for identity and community between generations has led to one of the longest ongoing debates amongst kids and adults alike.
So, before you take your battle positions and prepare to kill me, really think:
Do you like the song? Or do you just dislike everyone else?