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My Chemical Romance's general style has been categorized as alternative rock, post-hardcore, punk rock, pop punk, and, most controversially, emo. The band's official website describes their music as simply "rock" or "violent, dangerous pop". Gerard Way has publicly rejected the term "emo", describing the genre as "fucking garbage".However, Way has reportedly also described the band's style as "What-else-ya-got-emo".

The band's sound usually has elements of punk rock, pop and alternative rock. I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, the band's debut album, features a raw sound that has guitar riffs, very energetic vocals and sometimes screaming. The album is considered an emo album with strong influences from punk rock and hardcore punk. I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love also has some influences from heavy metal.The second album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge was one of the albums that launched the emo genre into the mainstream. The band's album The Black Parade lacks the post-hardcore elements featured on the first two My Chemical Romance albums and features elements of pop, emo and punk rock. The fourth My Chemical Romance album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys continues the band's pop punk sound.

Gerard Way said to Rolling Stone, "we love bands like Queen, where it's huge and majestic, but also bands like Black Flag and the Misfits, who would go absolutely crazy." Way has stated that the band is heavily influenced by Queen, Misfits, Black Flag, Iron Maiden, The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Smiths/Morrissey. Way has also said that his band patterns their career after that of The Smashing Pumpkins, another band they admire.

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