When We Were Young Festival is this weekend, with the same lineup on Saturday (10/22) and Sunday (10/23), and then it happens again the following Saturday (10/23). It's co-headlined by My Chemical Romance and Paramore, who play back to back on the adjacent black and pink stages, and who are both in the midst of making comebacks. The festival's been called an "emo nostalgia" festival all across social media and press, but it's worth noting that it really isn't just about nostalgia. Both headliners have new music out this year, and their recent singles are some of their best yet, clear steps forward, and not just rehashed versions of what they were doing in the mid 2000s. (Plenty of other bands on the lineup also have great new music out, like Jimmy Eat World, Manchester Orchestra, Dashboard Confessional, The Wonder Years, and Knocked Loose, and there are a handful of great younger bands playing too, like Meet Me @ the Altar and The Linda Lindas.)

My Chemical Romance's first song in eight years, "The Foundations of Decay," is unlike anything they've ever done. Clocking in at six minutes, it's dark, heavy, and sludgy in ways that My Chem never were, but still with the kind of anthemic chorus that always separated this band from their peers. It suggests that they're coming back because they've truly got more to say as a band (and recent teasers seem to hint at a new album), and if that's true, I really hope there's more where this came from.

Meanwhile, Paramore recently announced that their new album This Is Why arrives February 10 via Atlantic, and its recently-released title track picks up where the new wavey vibes of 2017's After Laughter left off. I've seen it compared to anything from Can to Talking Heads to Bloc Party, and all feel apt, but it also brings back some of the angst of early Paramore, as Hayley Williams sneers about conspiracy theorists and bigots who just have to publicly voice their opinions instead of showing an ounce of empathy. It gives that "they're back!" feeling that you crave whenever a band's taken as long a break as Paramore has, and it also feels like a step forward. This is unmistakably the work of Hayley Williams, Taylor York, and Zac Farro, but it also covers entirely new ground for them. Based on recent interviews, it sounds like "This Is Why" is just a small taste of all that the new album will have to offer, and I can't wait to hear what other directions the record will go in, but for now, this song alone feels momentous.

--

When We Were Young full lineup and set times here. The 2023 lineup (co-headlined by blink-182 and Green Day) is also already announced. The Wonder Years' Dan Campbell spoke a bit about WWWY on a recent episode of the BrooklynVegan podcast:

-

--

Check out photos from other recent My Chemical Romance reunion shows...

More From Brooklyn Vegan