Good Charlotte


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Ten years on from their debut, Good Charlotte jumped from Epic to Capitol, but more importantly, they decided to largely abandon the dance-punk nonsense of 2007’s Good Morning Revival for a time-honored back-to-basics move. They’ve returned to the bouncy punk-pop of their earliest years; they’re trying hard not to be blinded by the glittery lights of Hollywood; and they’re writing from the heart, hence the name Cardiology. Old habits do die hard, of course, and so do new ones: it doesn’t take long before the brothers Madden are writing fantasies of how “you’re my Bette Davis/I’m your Cary Grant”; by the end of the record, they’ve had an electronic relapse, dabbling chillouts and electronic rhythms. Ultimately, these are minor backslides in an album that revives the hook-happy punky pogo of Good Charlotte’s first albums while adding the new wrinkles, namely a willingness to indulge in pure power ballads and AAA pop, the latter in the form of the rose-tinted “1979,” an ode to the year of the Madden’s birth. “1979” may pander with its laundry list of classic rock albums, but it has the boldest hook here and is the leanest piece of pop, overshadowing the shellacked attempts to hold onto whatever footing at modern rock radio Good Charlotte still has. Maturity doesn’t necessarily suit the band -- there’s a natural, flat whine to Joel Madden’s voice that dooms him to eternal adolescence -- but every step Good Charlotte makes toward a comfortable middle age on Cardiology is a step that succeeds, producing music that resonates louder and longer than the flashy twaddle of Good Morning Revival.

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