“Helena” is the third single from My Chemical Romance’s second album, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. The lyrics refer to the way frontman Gerard Way felt about his grandmother, Elena. Her friends always called her Helen so he combined the two and called her Helena. The song also has influences from Iron maiden and The Ventures.
“Helena” was shot inside of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. The part of Helena is played by dancer/actress Tracy Phillips.
The song starts out with Way dressed in a black and red suit directing a funeral. A group of mourners/dancers also dressed in black and red join him at the front as various audience members tearfully dab at their eyes. He throws his hands in the air and the audience rises as he sings,
“What’s the worst that I can say
Things are better if I stay
So long and good night
so long and goodnight”
He thrusts his arms down and the audience sits as he bursts into the second verse. He sings, at times dramatically flinging his hair and giving alluring looks at the camera. Wearing black eye shadow, as well as dressed in black and red, he gives this video a very gothic and emo atmosphere.
He finishes the chorus in dramatic fashion as Helena’s closed eyes suddenly pop open and she gasps. The audience all bow their heads as she rises out of the coffin and, her toes pointed in ballet fashion, she descends to the ground. She tosses aside her bouquet of red roses. She is dressed in a beautiful, gothic dress that is black and red. She walks down the aisle in more dramatic fashion, clutching her breasts then dancing and spinning down the aisle, pausing to glide her hand just above a mourner’s head. She dances her way all the way to the camera, grabs it with both hands, dances away from it and then extremely dramatically she twirls towards the camera several times, then stops upright; her eyes widen as she once again gasps and she falls backwards into the coffin, somehow clutching the bouquet of flowers she had earlier tossed aside.
The scene jumps outdoors where the mourners/dancers are all dancing on the stairs with umbrellas that are black on one side and red on the other. This entire video was created with a gothic/emo feel to it; it is very dark and depressing. The pallbearers, some of which are My Chemical Romance members, carry Helena’s casket through a downpour of rain to the waiting hearse as Way sings the chorus with some of the most emotional vocals of the song. They slide the casket into the hearse, close the door and Way takes one last look through the window before he walks away and the video ends.
The video was nominated for numerous awards such as the MTV Video Music Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards Latin America, Kerrang and others. It won two awards and was also voted the number one video by viewers of MTV Latin America in the 2005 “100 Most Wanted Videos.”