Here at Sputnikmusic, there are bands that are adored, bands that are generally liked, bands that are disliked, and bands that are just plain hated
. Good Charlotte is a hated band. Whether it be the vocals, the musicianship, the lyrics, or their poppy sound, people around these parts don't take much of a likin' to Good Charlotte. But is all this hate warranted? If you ask me, the answer would be no. Good Charlotte is a band that has been judged largely by their singles, due to massive airplay on channels like MTV after the release of their second album, The Young and the Hopeless
. Good Charlotte built up a terrible reputation for themselves by releasing songs like "Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous," "The Anthem," and "Girls and Boys." Perhaps if they chose better singles, they wouldn't be so hated. But what's done is done. They released the worst of what The Young and the Hopeless
has to offer, and they've certainly paid the price for it.
Luckily for them, the rest of the album isn't bad at all.
As I stated before, the singles are not good. Good Charlotte basically shot themselves in the foot with the songs that they released. Releasing a bad single here and there doesn't usually destroy a band's reputation, but you have to understand that Good Charlotte was one of the most hyped bands of 2003. Before the release of The Young and the Hopeless
, they were relatively unknown, save for some minor success with singles from their self titled debut. Basically their whole image and sound was being shoddily held up by the crappy singles from this album, so it's no wonder to me that they're so disliked.
The first single, Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous
, was the worst choice for a lead single that I have ever seen. The terrible lyrics are totally contradictory to Good Charlotte's attitude. As kids, all they wanted to do was "make it" and become famous. And when they have their first taste of success, what do they do? They make a song about how shallow famous people are! The song's only saving grace is the tempo change in the music during the chorus after the bridge, which they should have used for the whole song, but they ruin that by going back to the same pace for the last chorus. The Anthem
is another one of the worst songs from the album. The opening music is pretty cool, but once again, the terrible lyrics totally ruin the song. Lyrics about hating authority, high school, and not wanting to follow trends worked for their first album, but no one wants to hear it a second time. The bridge in this song is downright awful, with lyrics like "Shake it once that's fine, shake it twice that's okay, shake it three times, you're playing with yourself again." The last thirty seconds of the song is pretty cool though. For Girls and Boys
, just take everything I said about the last two songs, just without the compliments. Yeah, it's that bad.
But hey, that's only three songs, and the rest of the album is quite good. After sitting through two torturous singles, we hear Wondering
. The lyrics in this one don't show too much improvement from the last two songs, but they seem to get better as the album progresses. A lot of people don't like Joelis vocals, but I enjoy them a lot. One thing I always liked about Good Charlotte's music is the harmonizing between Joel and Benji. It's done rather well on most songs, though I can't help feeling that they whored it a little too much, and that they should have cut back on it a little bit. It can get annoying after extended listening. Most people will tell you that the best song on the CD is My Bloody Valentine
, and they're right. Even some people that hate Good Charlotte like this song. Starting off with the sound of a thunderstorm, Joel soon comes in with some very morbid lyrics: "Oh my love, please don't cry. I'll wash these bloody hands and we'll start a new life." A string section is used extensively in this song, and it's done very tastefully. Another highlight is the bass playing from Paul. Though it's nothing spectacular, it is better than a lot of pop-punk bassists out there. This song is very dark, with lyrics about murdering a girl's boyfriend to win her for yourself. The song's only drawback is at the very end of the song when Joel yells "Tonight!" Joel's yelling doesn't sound good at all, and they could have come up with a better ending to the best song on the album, and one of my favorite songs of all time.
has received a lot of flak. It was one of the singles, and it was the only one that didn't suck. But once again, GC decided to shoot themselves in the foot by pairing the song with a sappy video. The lyrics are kind of boring and generic for an anti-suicide song, but apparently the band got a lot of letters from people saying that they were thinking about ending their lives, but didn't do it because of this song. I guess Good Charlotte has a lot more influence than some of us would like to admit. The Day That I Die
is another somewhat morbid song. The lyrics describe someone that knows that they are going to die, and what they do on their last day. The vocals are quite good, especially during the chorus where Benji sings "The day that I die" under the chorus lyrics. There is also a solo in this song, which is actually pretty good for a pop-punk solo.
The title track, The Young and the Hopeless
, is one of my favorites. Though the lyrics aren't that good, and there's no real musical standout, I still love it. The pre-chorus is killer, especially before the second chorus because of Joel and Benji's great harmonizing. The palm-muting in the intro and bridge, though incredibly simple, sounds very good. Emotionless
is the second best song on the album. When they were young, Benji and Joel's father left their family. This is a subject that GC has used in many of their songs, including two on this album (this song and The Story of My Old Man
, which doesn't pull it off quite as well as this song). The acoustics are pretty good, as well as the lyrics, and despite the depressing subject matter, they manage to make a somewhat uplifting song, especially the last chorus. This track has a sort of rising and falling feel to it. It starts off quiet and slow, then picks up for the chorus, then slows down again for the second verse, then builds up during the bridge, and then explodes for a final chorus before slowing down for a mellow ending.
Overall, Good Charlotte's widely hated second album, The Young and the Hopeless
, isn't nearly as bad as it is made out to be. If you can look past the singles, you will find some real gems on this CD. In short, Good Charlotte make good pop-punk music. If you hate Good Charlotte, I definitely recommend checking out My Bloody Valentine