Good Charlotte

Generation Rx

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As they must to all men, the years have caught up to Good Charlotte, the punk-pop band who made their bones as snotty young brats. Facing their forties, Joel and Benji Madden turn both inward and outward on Generation Rx, a swift LP teeming with affirmations and anthems. Perhaps its title is a jab at a medicated generation, but the record also seems to be designed as healing: punk-pop as self-help. Indeed, the second song on Generation Rx is called "Self Help," and while the Maddens aren't entirely navel-gazing here, their rallying calls for bullied teens and broadsides against "thoughts and prayers" platitudes are rooted within the idea that empathy is preferable to sarcasm. Such earnestness means that Generation Rx can feel a little bit deliberate: it may be little more than half an hour but it feels a bit longer, because the tempos are moderate and the melodies studiously avoid effervescence. All the same, Generation Rx winds up showing a way forward for Good Charlotte: they haven't forgotten their adolescence, but instead of attempting to re-create those wild crazy days, they've chosen to act as the concerned big brothers showing there's a way out of the darkness.

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