Internet jokes state that by the year 2025 Frank Iero will have created and disbanded 32 bands, Gerard Way would have a Japanese pop career, Mikey Way will have discovered unicorns and Ray Toro will be doing something. No-one anticipated the pint-sized, overly enthusiast former My Chemical Romance guitarist will have launched a solo career. Yes, you read correctly, this munchkin maniac has not only mini-toured with his band Death Spells but has been pottering about on his own with ‘Stage 4: Fear of Success’ being his second unofficial release.
It is said that a family need not be the individuals you share DNA with but rather those who love and care for you unconditionally. If this is the case then one can understand completely why the loss of My Chemical Romance may have a psychological effect on the band members. Think about it, they were together for 12 years eating the same food, drinking the same water, sharing the same bathroom. By losing such a strong bond, one is sure to experience a surge of emotions irrespective of whether they are anxiety-inducing or not.
By listening to Frank’s latest track, ‘Stage 4: Fear of Success’, it seems that he experienced a rush of unconscious negative emotions that left him insecure and unsure of himself. While people still perceive him as that overzealous guitarist, he felt torn from this identity and was now required to establish something new. It can be an incredibly confusing and desperate time, and it seems by placing himself in lead vocalist positions he is trying to move away from the old Frank to a new Frank.
I believe this song is Frank’s attempt to share his inner turmoil with everyone through his means of self-expression. He is telling us what he felt, how he reached acceptance and where he wants to go from here. Yet, his doubt of the clear skies ahead and awareness of high expectations exposes his true vulnerability and fear of rejection should he reach for the stars. I find it interesting that he chose to present this track as an acoustic release which only enhances his exposure to critique. Perhaps this is his aim.
‘Stage 4: Fear of Success’ is a blatantly emotional song sung by a very nervous Frank Iero, something I never thought I’d see. The wavering vocals are more than likely due to inexperience as a solo artist but truthfully I believe they add to the overall message of the track. This is not a heart-warming song despite the theme, but it is one I would listen to again. ‘Stage 4: Fear of Success’ is a song about moving on with your life and I am keen to see what Frank’s stage 5 will be.
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