Good Charlotte - Cardiology
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Record Label: Capitol Records
Listening to Good Charlotte now, it's hard to imagine that this is the same band that wrote several mandatory pop punk anthems years ago. Once a band that wrote music that got popular, this is now a band that writes popular music. Cardiology is a conglomeration of pop rock tracks written for the sole purpose of appealing to a large mainstream audience. The band knows what it's doing, though: Good Charlotte has crafted a few songs that will turn into successful singles and in turn, sell many copies of Cardiology, the group's fifth album and first for Capitol Records.
Frontman and lead singer Joel Madden provided a good amount of hype for this record, claiming that it wouldn't have the dance influence shown on Good Morning Revival and that the title of the album stemmed from the fact that the lyrics are all "connected to the heart." Well, if anyone believed him, both of those notions disappeared with the release of first single "Like It's Her Birthday". The opening guitar riff and vocal melodies on the track are plenty danceable and certainly don't exhibit a turn-around from the sound of the last album. Meanwhile, the lyrics are about, well, partying like it's your birthday, I guess. Did this gem come from the heart, Joel? "She's so wasted, acting crazy, making a scene / Like it's her birthday / Drinking champagne, going insane, falling on me / Like it's her birthday."
To put it politely, the song is a throwaway. "Counting the Days" was announced as the second single from Cardiology, and this chorus also reeked of a dance beat. As for the lyrics, maybe they did come from Madden's heart and he just is this bad of a lyricist. "We got one time, time to get this right / Two times and you know it's not my style / Three's company, just you and me, we need to figure this one out / Four letter words are all you said / Five minutes later we're in bed."
I don't mean to say that these things are what make these songs awful. Plenty of bands play danceable music and incorporate less-than-stellar lyrics with them. I personally just praised the Mercy Mercedes album, which made use of plenty of electronics and, for the sake of argument, had similar lyrical content. Good Charlotte just doesn't play this brand of music well at all. Madden's vocals don't seem correct in this setting and the use of autotune does nothing but drive me to my medicine cabinet with a pounding headache. My head really does hurt right now, and it didn't hurt before I sat down to write this review.
"Last Night" and "Sex on the Radio", the two song immediately following "Like It's Her Birthday", are brilliantly placed. The poorness of these two tracks makes "Like It's Her Birthday" look like a standout song. The synth pieces on "Last Night" sound like a sawblade driving through your ears, and I mean that in the worst way possible, if that much isn't clear. Meanwhile, "Sex on the Radio"...well, the name of the song says enough for me. Go ahead and judge that book by its cover.
"Standing Ovation" is a strange slower-tempo attempt at a ballad-like number, but it's much more enjoyable than any of the songs that precede it. It's a bit of a poor man's "Emotionless", from Good Charlotte's quadruple-platinum opus The Young and the Hopeless. Meanwhile, after "Interlude - The Fifth Chamber", the album goes off in a completely different direction.
"1979" is easily the best track on the record as the strum of an acoustic guitar paces a song that lets some light into the dark place that Cardiology is. "There She Goes" is a piano-led number that isn't that great, but is much better than this band's dance songs. "Right Where I Belong" sounds like it was co-written by Angels and Airwaves-era Tom Delonge, at least musically. If that sounds out of place, it should, because the song sounds out of place on this album. The electronic closer that gives the album its name is a slow song that relies on a lot of ambience, making "Right Where I Belong" seem a little more legitimately placed.
The end of Cardiology sort of makes the listener wonder what goes on during a Good Charlotte writing and recording session. It's like the band made the first eight songs of the record so they could sell about three million copies of it, then made the interlude to separate those songs from the four tracks that show that they aren't completely soulless, top-40 single-producing robots. Good Charlotte once had an edge and a fire that produced an entire album of quality music; I'm not afraid to admit that I still listen to most of the songs off of The Young and the Hopeless when they come up on shuffle. The Chronicles of Life and Death showed some heart as well. Wherever the edge went, it should come back. Maybe I'm stretching, but I think Good Charlotte still has the capacity to make a good album if they use it correctly.
For now, though, Cardiology is a mostly forgettable foray into the too-poppy-pop rock universe for this band. There are perhaps two songs on this album that should be returned to, but even so, the fact that they're on this record hurts them a lot. As Good Charlotte grow older and change, as they've already changed so much, maybe we'll see a return to the band's former glory. It's all that we can hope for.
Been waiting on this review and I'm kinda disappointed at how bad the album is. GC was my soundtrack when I first getting into music, I can't tell you how many times I spun Young and Hopeless back in the day. I was even a fan of Chronicles, which I thought brought a certain darkness over to their sound and showed a bit of maturation/evolution in their music. Good Morning Revival was a train wreck for me. The River and Misery I thought both followed the lead of Chronicles and were well done, but the rest of that album was a total departure from anything they've done, and not in a good way.
What I'm trying to say in this rant here is I want my Good Charlotte back. The Good Charlotte I listened to when I was 14, not whatever this is now at 19.
the self-titled and TYATH are classic. and... well then they became rich and famous after railing against just that. I gave this a chance. Last Night sounded exactly like that Dont Wanna Fall In Love song or whatever. such disposable music now. no soul.
Not to mention "Sex on the Radio" sounds alarmingly like All Time Low's "Lost in Stereo"
That's exactly what I thought.
I already thought this album wasn't worth to be bought and now nothing can make me change my mind. I'll probably go buy 1979 on Amazon MP3 but that's all. I'm really sad about that because Good Charlotte used to be my favorite band when I was 12-13 and now they're kind of throwing all their talent away. Maybe that's the L.A. influence.
The last four songs are still worth a little bit, I promise...just makes you wonder why they're using a clear sliver of talent on songs like the entire first three-quarters of this record. I wouldn't say I was expecting a lot out of this but it was still pretty sad to hear.