The Paper Kingdom is an incomplete and unreleased album from My Chemical Romance. The band started working on TPK after their Danger Days album and The Paper Kingdom album was slated to be the band’s fifth studio album aka MCR5.

Various interviews over the years have cited that nature of the album – being very dark and emotional – as one of the reasons why it was ultimately not completed. Some songs that did make it through the recording process before the album was “discarded” have surfaced through unofficial sources aka through leaks.

The following includes a timeline of The Paper Kingdom album through source links from interviews, articles, and primary sources. 

Note: The Paper Kingdom used to be referred to as MCR5 back when the album was being conceptualized and planned. BUT after the album was scrapped and MCR broke up, the placeholder name “MCR5” transformed into a reference to ANY possible future MCR album and is no longer used as a shorthand name for The Paper Kingdom.

The Paper Kingdom Timeline

November 22 2010: Danger Days is released

January 2012: Interview with Frank for Big Day Out

  • MCR in early stages of figuring out their 5th album
  • Article recorded at destroyanews

February 2012: Frank Iero and Ray Toro Interview with Noise11 

March 2012: How to Follow the Black Parade Interview

  • After months on the Australian Big Day Out festival lineup (Jan-Feb 2012)
  • No concrete sound plans, but Mikey is confident that it will once again fool the unbelievers.
  • Original source not available
  • Article recorded at destroyanews
  • Transcript

March 23, 2012: Studio Photos Posted on FB

  • A series of photos that seem to be taken in a studio are posted to the official MCR FB page
  • Some of the photos include a whiteboard with what looks to be song writing notes
  • Official FB page post

May 2012: Frank interview with The Aquarian  

  • Frank confirms that the writing process is going well
  • And that they’re about a month away from starting to record their 5th album
  • Interview summaries via CMU and NME
  • Full Interview

June 11, 2012: Los Angeles Kings defeating the New Jersey Devils & win the Stanley Cup

  • Gerard notes this day as the day MCR wrote “Fake Your Death” | via twitter
  • While “Fake Your Death” was ultimately released on February 17, 2014 as part of the May Death Never Stop You compilation album, it was written during The Paper Kingdom studio sessions. 

“What was not so obvious at the time was that the song was, and would serve as, a eulogy for the band, though I should have known it from the lyrics. though I should have known it from the lyrics. I think internally I did, as I felt an odd sense of sadness and loss after hearing back the words on top of the music. I also felt a strange sense of pride in how honest it was, and could not remember a band recording a song of this nature, being so self-aware. Ending felt like something honest, and honest always feels like something new.”

August 13, 2012: Gerard Interview with Kevin Smith

  • Of the 5th album: “I like to call it MCR 5 right now, so I’m really excited…”
  • When asked when it’s being released: “We don’t know yet but this one is going rather quickly.”
  • Also mentions that it’s “very dark so far, but I really like it.”
  • Video on YouTube
  • Transcript

March 9, 2013: Kerrang! #1442 Interview with Matt Devine

  • Magazine headline reads “My Chemical Romance: The New Album is a Go!” 
  • Matt claims that in a meetup with Gerard, he heard some of the new album and that Gerard had six songs completed already
  • Scans of the article via reddit user

March 23, 2013: MCR Break Up | official site

Post-Breakup Interviews/Mentions

2013

I fell back into a lot of old habits cuz it was easy because I felt in control. I wasn’t in control at all, and then after that climbing out of it it got worse. It got worse because I became even more paralyzed and more depressed, and I started to work on a record that was a concept record about a group of parents in a support group because they all lost their children in a horrible way and that was supposed to be the last record and that’s not story I wanted to tell and the songs reflected that. You could hear it. And all the joy was gone.

2014 

Interview with Gerard

  • Full Interview
  • Snippet
  • Talks about how TPK is extremely dark
  • Reveals that the album was going to be called The Paper Kingdom
  • Notes that maybe someday he might want to revisit The Paper Kingdom in a new format such as a book.

So that my chem record that didn’t get made it was really, not only was it really dark . . . I was basically finding anything else to do besides write music . . . it’s like, I cared what the songs were, but it’s like it’s gonna be a bunch of dark stuff and I’m, you know, we’re going to build costumes and stage sets, and it’s going to be this storyline about a support group of parents who are dealing with the loss of their children so they make up this story about the children all being missing in the woods and fighting this witch and that that was what it was about. It was called the Paper Kingdom. And, you know, there may be a time in my life where I want to do The Paper Kingdom, you know? And maybe it’s a book, or maybe it’s something else.

The Paper Kingdom Leak History

2020

  • A Summoning social media promo uses unknown sound | Youtube
  • The video was deleted and then reuploaded WITHOUT the sound to their social accounts 
  • Official reuloaded version without the sound | Twitter

A/N: Unrelated to TPK but this article is a fun look into the A Summoning video

2022 

September 26

  • User Excalibur leaks song snippets from three songs off TPK with each song “copyrighted” with the leaker’s username embedded on top of the snippets | Youtube
    • “Dark Cloud”
    • “Witch”
    • “Wake Up!”
  • Excalibur lists the songs up for sale for $10,000 but then, this is later removed and replaced by a “Best Offer” line.

September 27

  • Fans briefly theorize that the leak is an elaborate release hunt by MCR, but are quickly refuted when snippets start to be copyright striked and 
  • Leaked snippets deleted/removed by official sources | reddit thread as example
    • “Sorry, this post was removed by Reddit’s Legal Operations team.”
  • Some fans come together in an effort to buy the songs and keep them safe from further leaks, Excalibur acknowledges it as a possibility | summary and image via reddit
  • Exclibur also mentions that he has “countless” demo versions of Foundation of Decay as well. | summary & image link via reddit

October 16

  • Group purchase plans officially fall through and no longer considered an option for Excalibur | user of the forum confirms this update in a reddit comment

October 23

  • Songs are sold to a private buyer for $10,000
  • Now deleted reddit post titled “It seems we will not see the mcr leaks, the thread is closed and someone by the name as aang apparently bought it with crypto and keeping it to themselves.” | via reddit
  • Excalibur deletes the thread of posts about selling TPK and privates his account
  • User named Aang (allegedly) purchases the song and deletes his account, he had been bragging about this before the thread was deleted | via reddit comment of a forum user

November 21

  • User (and friend) join the MCR discord server, claim to be the real Excalibur (and friend), and try to legitimize his story | source: primary account of events by one of the server Admins

December

2023

Paper Swords

  • In 2023, Alt music, news, updates, & listening sessions account  NO COOL KIDS ALLOWED posted that they had been copyright striked for a stream that they held in which they played leaked snippets. 
  • One of the snippets was automatically IDed as “Paper Swords” by My Chemical Romance
  • As a result, it has been theorized, but not confirmed, that “Paper Swords” is another song from The Paper Kingdom.
  • Source: NO COOL KIDS ALLOWED post on FB

2024 Leak

On July 4th, The Paper Kingdom song “Witch” was leaked on a known leaked music forum. Users on the forum cited that a user named ATTAM had been scamming people by double selling leaks and selling leaks from snippets he had stolen. Disgruntled, they banded together to create a pack of ATTAM’s leaks to make public and discredit him. 

Accounts of the “Witch” leak from MCR fans on the forum are currently unconfirmed first-hand perspectives given through reddit comments and do not corroborate with each other. As neither are yet confirmed, a summary of both are recorded here:

Reddit User A claims:

  • Excalibur used ATTAM as a middle man to sell at least one song separate from the others
  • He states that he was one of the leaked site’s users who bought “Witch” from this middle man/ATTAM and had planned to buy more but didn’t because he didn’t have the money yet and then the July 4 leak happened.

What tracks from this account: The middle man only had ONE song from TPK and there is only ONE song listed in the ATTAM pack.

Reddit User B claims:

  • ATTAM was not a middle man. ATTAM bought TPK songs himself from Excalibur (with another person at $5k each of the $10k total) and was known to double sell leaked songs.
  • ATTAM’s leak vault is the source of the July 4 “Witch” leak. 
  • Another leak of the rest of the songs could be coming because: Apparently a different buyer by the username DOUG also bought TPK songs from ATTAM and has confirmed there are some songs that were not released or listed in the leaked ATTAM vault. DOUG is thinking about leaking the rest of what he has from TPK because all of the money he spent is essentially useless now that the rest has a high likelihood of being leaked by ATTAM’s purchase partner (from the the 5k/5k split).

What tracks from this account: the 5k/5k split adds up to the $10k total that we know Excalibur sold the TPK tracks for back in 2022. The unknown partner of the 5k split leaves an opening in the situation for Aang, who we know purchased TPK tracks from Excalibur. Future leak theory tracks with the fact that we know only one song was listed in the ATTAM pack.

2024 Leak Timeline

June: Disgruntled Users on popular music leak site become aware of mass scams by a user, ATTAM

  • Among the list of songs double and triple sold is one MCR song
  • Listed as “1x My Chemical Romance”
  • Source: via the leak site

July 4: “Witch” gets leaked in full

  • The first note from “Witch” now revealed to be the unknown sound from A Summoning promo video | reddit
  • “Witch” metadata dates the track as being created on July 24, 2012 at 5am | metadata info released in a reddit comment
    • This creation is consistent with the above timeline: writing was going well in May and then by August, Gerard felt satisfied with what they had created so far.

July 5: Two more snippets released via reddit user who got them from Excalibur in 2022

  • “Wake Up!” (different than the first leaked snippet) and “Foundations of Decay” demo
  • Post includes a possible tracklist and song count

List of songs posted to reddit on July 5:

  • Into Your Arms
  • Dive
  • High Hopes
  • Falling Down
  • Birthday Girl
  • Operation Day
  • Louder
  • Dogs
  • Bike Thief (Demo)
  • War Beneath the Rain
  • Wake Up!
  • Foundations Demo 

Note: While the “Foundations of Decay” demo is frequently mentioned in relation to the The Paper Kingdom leaks, it’s important to note that “Foundations” was never part of The Paper Kingdom, and was written while the band was prepping for their SWARM/RETURN tour (which caused a stage design change).

July 6: Possible Warner Leak Confirmation

  • Currently, there are whisperings of an impending Warner Bros. leak that could potentially contain more unreleased Paper Kingdom material. As of July 6, a source says “I’d give it a couple days at max.”

Paper Kingdom Leak and Legitimacy Concerns:

  • Some fans suspect AI
  • Fans start to upload leaks to other sites and are quickly copyright claimed
  • Example via reddit user
    • “Ok guys so I’ve posted the paper kingdom leak on YouTube and guess what: Ive got a mail from WMG saying this is copyright.”
  • Another example from a fan who did a stream of leaked snippets in November 2022 posted a photo of a copyright claim which includes “Witch” 
  • Metadata dates the song to 2012 (as stated above)
  • First note matches sampling from A Summoning (as stated above)

Current Known Tracklist for The Paper Kingdom

  1. Witch
  2. Dark Cloud
  3. Wake Up!
  4. Into Your Arms
  5. Dive
  6. High Hopes
  7. Falling Down
  8. Birthday Girl
  9. Operation Day
  10. Louder
  11. Dogs
  12. Bike Thief (Demo)
  13. War Beneath the Rain
  14. Paper Swords

*In no particular order, but numbered to see the title count


Please note that some sources, links, and names have been omitted for safety and/or legal reasons.

As TPK leaks are ongoing, this page will be updated to reflect any additional information as it happens.

Special thanks to days_fade, spaceyraygun, and members of the MCR discord for help in research efforts and the drafting process.

Questions/comments? Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram