Review Summary: Generation X, Generation Strange, sun don't even shine through our window pane.“I used to be with ‘it’, but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it’ anymore and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary. It’ll happen to you!”
– Grandpa Simpson.
This might not be the most sophisticated of quotes, but it’s one that has haunted my subconscious for the better part of 22 years from when the episode first aired. I haven’t watched The Simpsons for about 16 years, but Grampa’s words of wisdom have never left me. As I get older I find this quote’s genius shouting louder to me, watching as it burrows itself into the very fabric of day-to-day life. But the hysterical irony here is seeing Grampa’s words yelling the same thing to bands that have been doing this awhile; groups that are too stubborn to call it a day and end gracefully. You see, the real trick to longevity in this game is staying in the loop with popular trends. If a band has an able skill set they’ll implement these elements into their sound organically – rejuvenating themselves and continuing on to fight another day – or they’ll be the one in a million band that takes the threadbare tropes and subverts them into making a seminal shake-up for the scene. And you know, as great as the shake-ups are, they only tend to happen a handful of times every decade. For the remainder of those years, music lovers are subjected to an endless sea of bands and artists imitating their contemporaries. In 2018 – for heavy music at least – we seem to be in a period where That’s The Spirit
’s influences echo louder now than they ever have before. As Bring Me The Horizon prep themselves for another bout of evolving progression, older demographics look at their crowning successes in the hope of attaining the same thing.
Just two years on from Good Charlotte’s hideously stale return with Youth Authority
, a collection of sugary pop-punk tunes that hit every trending trope known to man at the time -- and went down about as well as a fart in a spacesuit -- they're back at it again. Given their roots however, it seemed somewhat logical to return during the resurgence of pop-punk and deliver a reminiscent pastime with the more alluring aspects its targeted youth were drawn to at the time. But things change a lot in two years, and like Bullet For My Valentine, Good Charlotte unveil an even more severe desperation of intent with crowd following, locking their sights on today’s latest fads: chunky guitars, glittery electronics and a selection of autotuned or digitally enhanced vocal trickery to deliver on the ethereal sadness and darkened guitar templates being abused these days. Of course, we can’t leave out the fact Good Charlotte plagiarise That’s The Spirit
so brazenly it gives BFMV a run for their money. It’s a mainstay element that is impossible to overlook. “Prayers” shameless pillaging of “Follow Me” is an obvious one; from the melancholic guitar passages and electronic claps in the verse, to the chorus’ even less subtle usage. “Prayers” is one of the worst cases however, a slightly more nuanced handling is gripped firmly throughout, but is still plain to see. It’s this kind of regurgitation from impoverished bands that makes you want to curse Jordan Fish’s influence with BMTH. Fish’s distinct keyboard and electronic brushstrokes are fervently writhing around every single song here with completely unadulterated adulation, making this relatively short offering a jarringly drawled and obnoxious listen. From the irking opening riff of “Shadowboxer” – ripped straight from Sempiternal
’s “Seen It All Before” – to the haunting samples of That’s The Spirit
’s “Happy Song” being made to go underneath the painfully bland songwriting of “Better Demons”.
Like Youth Authority
, the vocal work is solid and makes things a little less unpleasant, but the problem stems from the way the performances present themselves. Joel attempts to sound pained, angsty and/or mournful and the results are the sonic equivalent of a trainwreck, adding further futility to these calculated tunes. Seeing Sam Carter as the guest spot for “Leech” was a surprise, but an even bigger kicker knowing it was one of the worst tracks here: from the millennial-woes, to the glitchy samples, it all sounds like a terrible alt-rock tune from Skillet’s latest abomination; it doesn’t help that Sam’s performance comes across phoned in and falls completely flat, adding nothing to the track at hand. In all honesty, Generation Rx
was more painful to listen to than its predecessor, simply because the band excels at sounding so insincere here. When they don’t sound like a BMTH knock-off they’re aiming for a radio hit with the nauseating “California (The Way I Say I Love You)”, a mushy number that has Joel reciting a love letter over a typically cliché set of tear-jerking cellos and an acoustic guitar. A perfect way to complete this derivative and forced LP. As much as I dislike Youth Authority
, I’d rather listen to that 42 minute album over this 31 minute farce because it at least has Good Charlotte at the core of it. The only thing I got out of Generation Rx
was hearing Grandpa Simpson uttering those words a little louder in my head.
FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶/̶C̶D̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶/̶/̶V̶A̶R̶I̶O̶U̶S̶ ̶B̶U̶N̶D̶L̶E̶S̶
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A
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