When Pop Spoils
With The Chronicles of Life and Death Good Charlotte strays from the pop-â€šÃ„Ãºpunkâ€šÃ„Ã¹ formula they had proven skilled at solving. The instrumentation is harder, maybe to reflect the more serious subject matter they attempt, but it is also less catchy. Lead singer Joel Madden has a weak voice not suited for the melodies he tries to carry. None of this is usually relevant in true punk music, but pop-punk is a different animal. Especially for a band which built its popularity on catchier songs.On â€šÃ„ÃºI Just Wanna Liveâ€šÃ„Ã¹ the boys bemoan the perils of celebrity, even referencing their previous hit â€šÃ„ÃºLifestyles of the Rich & Famous.â€šÃ„Ã¹ But instead of showing a new understanding for the life they are now living, Good Charlotte is still just complaining. This comes off as hypocritical.
There are interesting sonic additions â€šÃ„Ã¬ violin and piano accompaniment among others â€šÃ„Ã¬ but this plays more like an attempt to cover lacking areas than as a sign of Good Charlotteâ€šÃ„Ã´s creative legs.
The writing on this album is just bad. â€šÃ„ÃºWalk Away (Maybe)â€šÃ„Ã¹ includes the less than insightful â€šÃ„ÃºMaybe Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m just scared/to face the things I feel/itâ€šÃ„Ã´s easier to walk away from everything.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Recent incarnations of pop-punk require adequate doses of angst for fans to identify with, but Good Charlotte seems to think the broader the problems, the better. Unfortunately, this level of separation causes their art to lose its potential impact. And repeating a lyric six times does not make it more powerful.
Good Charlotteâ€šÃ„Ã´s usual pop-punk fluff goes down smooth, with maybe just a pang of guilt. The Chronicles of Life and Death will not digest quite so easily.