Good Charlotte
The Chronicles of Life and Death



by Channing Freeman STAFF
October 29th, 2006 | 85 replies

Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

In the short time that he spent on Sputnikmusic, Josh Keen garnered a lot of mixed reactions. His dry-as-a-bone wit and sarcasm were loved by few and hated by most. Indeed, to those who never got to know him further, Josh seemed to merely be a depressed cynic who found joy by putting others down. But if you were one of the few who chose to get to know him, you would find that, well, he is a cynic who finds joy by putting others down. But there’s more to him than that. Josh is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. In the few privileged months that I spent talking to him outside of Sputnik, I gained not only a trusted confidante, but a great friend as well. When he informed me that he would be losing his internet connection, I was very sad. Perhaps I was even sadder than I should have been. After all, it’s only the internet right? Whatever. Damn Sputnik and its tendency to bring people that will never meet together.

Although he probably wouldn’t like the comparison, Josh and Good Charlotte are very similar as far as this site’s perception of them goes. Due to mass TV/radio airplay, Good Charlotte’s image is based on their singles, which admittedly haven’t been all that spectacular. But, similar to Josh, once you break through their outer image, Good Charlotte turns out to be excellent. With The Young and the Hopeless, the band released three singles that were enough to turn anybody away from the album, let alone the people that already dislike the band. Then, with their latest album The Chronicles of Life and Death they released I Just Wanna Live as a single, which is by far the band’s worst song. I really can’t blame anyone for not picking these albums up because of those singles. But if you are willing to look past the singles, you will find that the rest of the songs on this album are of exceeding high quality.

The first thing that I noticed about this album was that the vocals are better. On The Young and the Hopeless, there were times when Joel sounded like he recorded the vocals when he had a cold. Gone is the nasally voice; in its place is a scratchier, somewhat rawer style. Benji and Joel still harmonize a lot, which isn’t a bad thing by any means. On TYATH, I felt that they harmonized too much, to the point where there were times when I got sick of it. They backed off a little bit on this album, which I feel was a good choice. Joel’s range has increased as well. On previous efforts, his voice had little variation and he never strayed too far from his comfort zone. Now, he can be heard going all over the place with his vocals; there’s even some falsetto here and there.

The lyrics have improved also; at times they actually border on deep, which is a surprising achievement for Good Charlotte. Though that’s certainly the exception and not the rule, it’s apparent that the Madden brothers made a considerable effort to better their lyrical skill. Instead of writing about usual pop-punk fare like relationships and love, most songs are about more mature subjects, such as comparing life to death (hence the album’s title). The band even ventured into the territory of social commentary in songs like In This World (Murder) and The World is Black. As far as musicianship goes, they have improved somewhat, though they still come off as generic in most songs. Fortunately, this is pop-punk, and instrumental proficiency isn’t a requirement. Good Charlotte have always had a solo or two on their albums, and Chronicles is no exception. Billy Martin is obviously the most proficient member of the band, and he shows it by letting loose some cool solos on a few songs. Paul Thomas has always impressed me with his quirky bass lines and he adds some flair to an otherwise dull musical performance.

One thing that I’ve noticed about Good Charlotte’s albums is that each one has a somewhat unique feel because each album has a different drummer. The band has always had trouble with keeping a drummer, but this has proven to be a blessing in disguise. Chris Wilson, the drummer for this album, is the best drummer the band has had to date, but a year or so after this album dropped, he left the band. While this certainly could be considered a bad thing, I am excited to see what the new drummer will bring to the table on the band’s next record. Good Charlotte’s songwriting has always been pretty generic, as they have mainly stuck to a verse-chorus-bridge-chorus formula. With this album, though, they sought to branch out from the norm. The Madden brothers really came into their own on this album, showing a knack for using different song structures and tempo changes. This is most apparent in the bridges. The band focused primarily on building the songs up and then having them climax, instead of trying to make the choruses as catchy as possible.

The Chronicles of Life and Death is a superb album from Good Charlotte. The growth that the band went through is apparent; they improved in every area, making a darker, more mature album. I will admit that releasing two versions was a cheap marketing ploy, though. If you’re planning on buying this, just get the platinum version, which has both bonus tracks on it.

Recommended Songs

Walk Away
Meet My Maker

This review is dedicated to Josh Keen. OKATY.

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Damrod EMERITUS (2)

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Comments:Add a Comment 
October 29th 2006


it sucks chan. j/k good review, although i was never big on GC

October 29th 2006


i thought you reviewed this a long time ago...

October 29th 2006


he had them deleted so he could re write them

October 29th 2006


Good review, I guess.

As far as Josh goes he seemed like a good guy for the majority of his Sputnik career, although he got pretty bitter towards the end.

The Door Mouse
October 29th 2006


[quote=MM8]As far as Josh goes he seemed like a good guy for the majority of his Sputnik career, although he got pretty bitter towards the end.[/quote]

pretty good review. ill vote.

October 29th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

Good Review, this is probably the best GC album and it is only decent.

Activista anti-MTV
October 29th 2006


I think you did the best you could with this album.

October 29th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, I liked TYATH way more than this.

October 29th 2006


Album Rating: 1.5

Excellent review, though I strongly dislike this album.

The Jungler
October 29th 2006


Good review, what I've heard off this album is kind of awesome, Predictable owns.

Hopefully Bron gets his internet back soon and stuff. Deep intro.

October 29th 2006


Josh was cool. Great review Chan.

south_of_heaven 11
October 29th 2006


Album Rating: 1.5

Man Chan I f*cking miss Bron

October 29th 2006


an excellent review chan. i was wondering what happened to Bron. He seemed like a smart guy and knew what he was talking about.

The Sludge
October 30th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

What a way to pay a homage to Bron than to rewrite a Good Charlotte review in his honor. I'm sure he's proud where ever he is.

As far as that monster you had written before, this is a simplified verson that is more easy on the eyes. Nice.

October 30th 2006



Great review for a great man.This Message Edited On 10.29.06

Storm In A Teacup
October 30th 2006


Chan rocks the house.

October 30th 2006


Well, lookee here.

Channing, I don't know whether I appreciate this or find it perturbing. Probably a healthy cocktail of both of those emotions.
My internet is not gone yet, but no I will not be returning, so Acey quit IM'ing me about it.

I like the folks I've had serious discussion here with, and I stand by every insult I've flung at anyone of you. Ironically, you shouldn't take it personally. I meant it well enough, but yer know how it goes. I don't really know you, not going to completely judge you.

So uh... Douchey last posts aren't my thing, but as a few select members won't get out of my ass about it here it is. Many thanks and whatnot.

Stay pretty.

south_of_heaven 11
October 30th 2006


Album Rating: 1.5

Bye Bron...may peace and happiness find you always, you humble man you...

Oh yea, I forgot, I thought this review was well-written and stuff...did I already say that?This Message Edited On 10.29.06

October 30th 2006


I really wish Bron was a nicer person because for the most part he had good taste and was an excellent writer but who knows maybe if he hadnt been so judgmental to me I would have seen him as a better person.

October 30th 2006


he was a cool guy.

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