My Chemical Romance with Doris Day

I was recently struck by the parallels and differences between the opening lyrics of Doris Day’s 1956 hit ‘Que Sera, Sera’ and My Chemical Romance’s song ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ from 2006.

Que Sera, Sera starts with:
“When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?
Here’s what she said to me:

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be”

It’s not a bad message about accepting life as it comes rather than wishing our lives away, but it feels to me like Welcome to the Black Parade captures a different sense of the world and our places in it:

“When I was a young boy
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band
He said, “Son, when you grow up
Would you be the savior of the broken
The beaten and the damned?”
He said, “Will you defeat them?
Your demons, and all the non-believers
The plans that they have made?”

Both are songs about formative experiences as young children with parents, but the latter song is much more outward-looking, and focuses on the protagonist’s obligations to the vulnerable in our world.

And this seems to me to be an attitude that, in the face of all our defeated reactions to what’s happening in the world at the moment, has taken root. I know that most of my young friends are much more aware of and concerned about other people in the world, especially the vulnerable ones, and what they can do to make the world better.

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