Sellouts? Fake punks? Prefabricated? I’ve heard it all. Whatever you call Good Charlotte, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the fact that these 4 guys hit us with what was, in my opinion, one of the best albums of 2002? Of course, we all know what they say about opinions, don’t we? Good Charlotte released their self-titled, major label debut album in 2000. It did quite well, selling Gold with little to no mainstream attention. They had a song, The Click, which was used for an MTV cartoon, The Undergrads. They were also featured on the Not Another Teen Movie soundtrack, as well as the movie itself.
When their sophomore album, The Young and the Hopeless, things were quite different for the guys. Benji and Joel were now hosting an MTV show, called All Things Rock. Thanks to Benji and Joel, people now knew who Good Charlotte was. They even got MTV to play a couple of their old videos(The Little Things, Motivation Proclamation) on the show. Since their first album, the guys lost a member. Their drummer, Aaron, left the band to pursue other options. So they enlisted Josh Freese(Vandals) to play drums on The Young and the Hopeless. The album has since gone Platinum.
The first single, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, made its debut on TRL. 50 weeks later, after rocking the TRL countdown, the video was retired. The song talks about people who have celebrity status, money, nice houses and cars, but still complain about how hard life is. Basically they say to these whiny bastards, Hey, life could be worse. You could be homeless, living on the streets, and have nothing. I’ll gladly take your lifestyle over that any day. The video featured cameos by Chris Kirkpatrick of Nsync, KG of Tenacious D, and Mike Watt. The song is pretty upbeat and carries a very catchy tune.
The albums leadoff song, A New Beginning, is actually an instrumental introduction. It’s the fastest “song” on the album, as well as the shortest, clocking it at a mere 1:49. It reminds me of MXPX’s style, very fast. This leads us to The Anthem, which was recently released as the albums second single and video. Currently, it’s rocking the TRL countdown, and has taken the number 1 spot the past 5 days in a row. The song is about growing up, and pressure from parents to be somebody, namely to grow up like they did. Do the normal stuff that’s expected of kids, like go to college and get a good job. It’s about being yourself.
My personal favorites on the album would have to be My Bloody Valentine and Emotionless. My Bloody Valentine deals with being in love with a girl who already has someone. He kills her boyfriend then makes plans for the future. “I’ll wash my bloody hands, and we’ll start a new life,” Joel sings as he gives out details of the deed he’s done.
Emotionless is a very sad, almost tear jerking song. “It’s been a long hard road without you by my side. Where were you at all those nights that we cried? You broke my mothers heart you broke your children for life. It’s not okay, but we’re alright. I remember the days you were a hero in my eyes, but those are just a long lost memory of mine. I spent so many years learning how to survive, now I’m writing just to let you know I’m still alive.” The words they write, and the way they get their feelings across, you can’t help but sympathize with the guys for what they’ve been through. Even more so if you’ve been in the situation they’re singing about.
My favorite songs from these guy are Little Things and East Coast Anthem from their first album. While those are still my favorites, I still think The Young and the Hopeless is a better album overall. I’m sure all of the “punk as fuck” purists out there will overlook these guys and their talent. That’s okay, because you’re the one’s who are missing out. But let me ask you a questoin. How can you call yourself punk if all you are worried about is your image and credibility?
I give this album 4 stars.