My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” Lyrics Meaning

First off it should be noted that the titular character is in fact deceased. This is made most evident in the music video to “Helena”.

But after that is when things get a little bit tricky. On one hand, this song serves as an ode to the singer’s, Gerard Way’s, actual grandmother. Her name was Elena Rush, whom friends referred to as Helena. And she contributed monumentally to Gerard growing up to be a successful artist.

Now initially “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”, the album upon which this song is featured, was supposed to be centered on a male character who dies, goes to hell and comes back in the name of love. But while in the process of making the album, Elena died. Thus My Chemical Romance decided to incorporate her loss into that aforementioned storyline, with one of the products being this song. 

So even though it does in fact act as a reminiscence of the singer’s late grandmother, there is a dual storyline operating concurrently where Helena is also a lady whom this man (i.e. the singer), who is indeed relaying these sentiments from hell, believes he has unintentionally killed. That’s why for instance, the track mentions ‘both their cars collided’, as he believes he took her life via a car crash (which actually killed him). 

So from that perspective, this track has nothing to with the vocalist personally knowing the addressee at all. Rather it is more along the lines of him regretting that he took her life.

“Helena” is a Tribute to “Elena Rush

At the end of the day, the prevailing understanding is that “Helena” is indeed a tribute to Gerard Way’s late maternal grandmother. After all, the song is named after her. But apparently it was at least conceptualized before she actually passed away. So basically what we have is a situation where certain aspects of a real-life death which affected actual people have been incorporated into the tale of a fictional death with make-believe characters.

Lyrics of “Helena”

Music Video

Director Marc Webb opted to film the cinematic music video to “Helena” in a church found in Los Angeles. And the lady who plays the role of the titular character in the clip is a dancer/actress by the name of Tracy Phillips.

Facts about “Helena”

An alternate name of this song is “Helena (So Long & Goodnight)”.

The official release date of this track, which was published by Reprise Records, was 23 May 2005. And it is a feature on My Chemical Romance’s second album, “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”.

This song was written by the members of My Chemical Romance – Frank Iero, Ray Toro, Gerard Way, Mikey Way and Matt Pelissier.

And the entire band also produced the tune in conjunction with Howard Benson.

Their musical inspiration was a 1984 track by Iron Maiden entitled “Aces High” in addition to the sound of an American rock band formed in the 1950s known as The Ventures.

This track charted in 7 countries, including peaking at number 20 on the UK Singles Chart and marking My Chemical Romance’s first foray onto the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, where the track peaked at number 33.

And concerning the latter, “Helena” has also been certified Gold in the United States.

7 Responses

  1. demon girl says:

    what’s the worst thing I can say things are better if I stay so long and goodnight so long and good night

  2. A living human says:

    Real quick, when it showed her coming out of the casket as they prayed, what was the meaning behind that?

    • Bread says:

      I think it’s a manifestation of the beautiful memory they are reminded of the deceased ballerina while “Gerard” is performing his eulogy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...