If your like me, you also jumped onto the "f*ck Good Charlotte"
bandwagon once their 2002 album "The Young And The Hopeless" was released. Their incredibly over-produced punk influenced sound and boyish 'punk' image drawn in many preteen fans. Their songs and videos annoyingly flooded the pop stations of your local radio station and MTV. But secretly I was looking forward to it, and found some joy in it until the huge backlash happened in the punk world.
Unforgivable I couldn't deny my past. The skeletons in my closet ate at my musical soul. Just after the passing of my grandmother in 2000, when I first started looking towards music to heal the pain. And on MTV2, (the only music video station to actually play videos at the time), Little Things was consistently playing, and I was immediately drawn in. The images of being a loser in school and a father not being there that I could relate to. So I saved any cash I received to purchase the album, as it became a must have. Upon purchase, my Green Day and Weird Al albums took a break as this cd became full rotation on my stereo system and headphones. After when Benji and Joel hosted the late night MTV "All Things Rock" before the release of their follow up in 2002, I had already had money saved and purchased when released. At first I noticed a slight (just slight) change, but still enjoyed a fair amount of it. After a month or so, banned it from myself once everywhere, a hating Good Charlotte movement happened as I was getting into more punk. So naturally I joined along before being labeled anything that wasn"t me. I gave away my copy of "The Young And The Hopeless," then this album became on my back burner for until recently when I looked at the cloudy picture on the cd itself and decide to, so to say, 'give it another go.'
Good Charlotte got their start as twins Benji and Joel Madden was introduced to such bands as Rancid and Social Distortion by their older brother Josh. After a Beastie Boys concert in 1996, as the twins were 16yrs old, they decided to gather up a few friends to start a band, and moved to Maryland. After some practice and a solid line-up molded, the boys released an EP in 1999, which caught the eye of Sony executives after the breakout of Blink 182's "Enema Of The State." Many labels swallowed up anything related to a punk sound, as New Found Glory, Fenix TX, Handsome Devil, and of course Good Charlotte were given chances. In 2000, was this self titled debut LP released to only a mild success rate.
Really, the best musical quality on this album, is Paul's quirky bass lines. They stand out here a lot more than on their latter albums. Its evident that tracks like "I Don't Wanna Stop" and "Let Me Go" that the bass brings a fresh mark to Good Charlottes sound. Its even more evident in "Little Things" as it drives the song, especially during the verse as only it and the drums brings across Joel's lyrics of the downside of being a loser while everyone has it better than them. Along with "Screamer," the bass drags along the emotion along the verse with the high pitched guitar at the intro. The emotion keeps on flooding through this song, as Joel unleashes some of the best lyrics he has ever written. Very uplifting, about when life gets you down, just hold on and you'll get by.
Originally Posted by Screamer
You say that I'm a dreamer,
I saw you're a non-believer
Take out the light,
take out the light and start screaming.
I'm a dreamer,
no one believes me,
and you don't either.
The lyrics on here period has more emotion and meaning than their latter records. Songs like the tear jerker "Seasons" reminisce of the good times in a past relationship. The song starts out with a soft acoustic feel, as Joel's low toned vocals provided touch to the feel of the song. About a minute in the distortion begins, and the song drives home once the pace builds up as the line "I wanna fall in love, tonight" starts. Well the lyrics aren't all about relationships like other pop-punk bands at the time (ala New Found Glory). There are songs about a father not being available while the Madden twin growing up. Hints of these lyrics are found in songs like "Little Things," ('We checked his room, his things were gone. We didn't see him no more, d*ck!') and "Waldorf Worldwide," (I'm tired of my old man, because he's never around). In fact "Waldorf Worldwide" is a rant on wanting to make it big so they don't have to live in the slums anymore. It has a nice ska quality sound, and there is even rapping during the verses. Such a happy feel to the song, even though the lyrics are about being alone in the world.
What Good Charlotte simultaneous does right and wrong is their much softer songs. Notably their last track "Change" and their hidden track titled "Thank You Mom." Common sense will say that Joel's voice doesn't fit with a soft acoustic track, being how broad and limited it is, and common sense is right again. But on "Change," it seems to fit perfectly. Mellow acoustics, well placed bass line, and the dums fit nicely. Well written lyrics about falling in love with someone you can't have. "Thank You Mom" has the same feel as "Change" but this track is actually the perfect ode to one's mom. Real brownie points were scored here.
Originally Posted by Thank You Mom
You were my mom,
you were my dad.
The only thing I ever had was you,
This disc isn't all butter and cookies. Laced with filler. "The Click" is the opening track from the short lived cartoon show "The Undergrads." (This song wasn't included on my disc, that"s how long I've had it). Its just a very typical song. It keeps a catchy verse, referencing Star Wars, but eventually just blends into blandness. "I Don"t Wanna Stop" will get you bobbing your head slightly with its bouncing guitar riff. That"s where the fun stops, after a few listens, the lyrics and music just gets old quick. "Festival Song" could have just been named "Whining About Growing Up" because its complaining lyrics on not wanting to grow up and be a man. The music was played nicely, and its catchy, but the lyrics are pretty much a mess.
Its hard to suggest this disc to anyone that already has their mind set on how undeserving Good Charotte is, so is unlikely to give this debut a shot. It"s a good thing that Benji and Joel writes more on their life experience than about girl/relationship problems amongst the rest. The happy bass lines adds a lot to the listen ability on here. But the filler during the last half gets shot, even though they aren"t all that bad.
The Sludge's Thumb Up's
Thank You Mom (hidden track)