And yet, young MCR fans, this isn't your older brother's teenage wasteland. Now that punk cheerleaders an oxymoron when Nirvana's breakthrough video debuted regularly pop up at Super Bowl pregame shows and Roller Derby rallies, the popular-kid misfit has become a cliché. Earlier this year, Hot Topic, the '90s alternative mall-rat headquarters, stopped selling goth, grunge, and metal-oriented teen fashion because, their annual report claimed, "the iPod has reduced the number of 'one genre' fans." Outsiders ain't what they used to be. Mass culture's just a culmination of fringe cultures, and for a band that blends '70s glam's flamboyance, goth's zombie-hipster makeup, and grunge's disaffected malaise to chart on Billboard's Hot 100, that might be the key to success.
With his ghoulish style and theater-major affectations, MCR singer Gerard Way may be more Frank-N-Furter than Kurt Cobain, but in the "Teenagers" video, he's still what the '90s wrought. "You're never gonna fit in much, kid," Way taunts the crowd, and his sing-song voice suggests the irony's not lost on him. If grunge brought alternative culture mainstream, Way is living the teenage dream. By the end of the video, playfully mobbed by classmates and fans, he's further proof that the high school misfit is now the status quo Voice of a Generation for goths, meatheads, cheerleaders, stoners, and all.