Review : Good Charlotte - Cardiology
AllmusicTen years on from their debut, Good Charlotte jumped from Epic to Capitol, but more importantly, they decided to largely abandon the dance-punk nonsense of 2007’s Good Morning Revival for a time-honored back-to-basics move. They’ve returned to the bouncy punk-pop of their earliest years; they’re trying hard not to be blinded by the glittery lights of Hollywood; and they’re writing from the heart, hence the name Cardiology. Old habits do die hard, of course, and so do new ones: it doesn’t take long before the brothers Madden are writing fantasies of how “you’re my Bette Davis/I’m your Cary Grant”; by the end of the record, they’ve had an electronic relapse, dabbling chillouts and electronic rhythms. Ultimately, these are minor backslides in an album that revives the hook-happy punky pogo of Good Charlotte’s first albums while adding the new wrinkles, namely a willingness to indulge in pure power ballads and AAA pop, the latter in the form of the rose-tinted “1979,” an ode to the year of the Madden’s birth. “1979” may pander with its laundry list of classic rock albums, but it has the boldest hook here and is the leanest piece of pop, overshadowing the shellacked attempts to hold onto whatever footing at modern rock radio Good Charlotte still has. Maturity doesn’t necessarily suit the band -- there’s a natural, flat whine to Joel Madden’s voice that dooms him to eternal adolescence -- but every step Good Charlotte makes toward a comfortable middle age on Cardiology is a step that succeeds, producing music that resonates louder and longer than the flashy twaddle of Good Morning Revival....full text
AvclubThough Good Charlotte is a pop-punk success, the group isn’t a heavyweight in either the punk or the pop department. Granted, angst and hooks galore are scattered throughout the band’s catalog, but none of it particularly sticks. Good Charlotte’s fifth album, Cardiology, is its first for Capitol Records, and it’s the perfect opportunity for leaders Benji and Joel Madden to finally make some sort of stab at decency; Good Charlotte’s last album, 2007’s Good Morning Revival, was a poorly received foray into slick, synthesizer-heavy dance-rock, and the Madden Twins have already touted Cardiology as a return to form. What’s that worth? As it turns out, zip. Although the new album opens promisingly with Beach Boys-esque a cappella before kicking into a handful of bland yet workable pop-punk tunes, the middle backslides into watered-down dance-rock. Cardiology’s first single, “Like It’s Her Birthday,” follows the post-Killers formula of Good Morning’s “I Don’t Wanna Be In Love (Dance Floor Anthem).” From there, it’s a slippery slope into laminated, overprocessed banalities like “Last Night” and “Alive.” The sad thing is, the Maddens actually have a rare gift: In spite of their lack of vision, they’re achingly earnest when it comes to delivering simple tales of romantic confusion, domestic strife, and soaring triumph. But when that earnestness is chained to clubfooted dance songs and cold, odorless production, as it is in Cardiology, you’d never guess it’s there....full text
MusicGood Charlotte burst on the scene ten years ago with their first two albums putting them on the fast-track to pop-punk royalty. The quintet followed up those successes with a near-miss and a strange dip into dance-rock. For their fifth effort, brothers Benji and Joel Madden and crew return to their roots for a straight-up rock album that lovingly recalls the days when Blink-182 ruled the radio with light-hearted, power-chord pumping tunes like "Sex On The Radio". There are a few unfortunate remnants of the last album, like the pulsating synth of "Let The Music Play" and odd computer distorted vocals in the middle of "Silver Screen Romance", but they are used sparingly enough not to ruin otherwise solid songs.
There is a good natured spirit to all of the songs on the album, infusing a bit of humor into post-breakup "Counting The Days". Sunny, strutting riffs push the harmonized melodic vocals coming to grips with an on-again-off-again failed relationship. It serves as a reminder of how great the band is at nailing the pop-punk sound. Jangling "There She Goes" finds Joel Madden longing for an old flame that now wants nothing to do with him post-fame.
Guitar-fuelled "Like It's Her Birthday" starts heading down a darker path, with questions of infidelity, before it turns into a sweet feel-good tune about finding your girlfriend uninhibited on the dance floor for the first time. The galloping synth of next morning anthem "Last Night" is as close as they get to glossy pop fare, but the shout-a-long hook and enjoyable verses, piecing together the alcohol drenched evening, make for irresistible listening. This lovestruck collection is a welcome return to form that should restore fans' faith in the band....full text
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