Album Review: Good Charlotte - Generation Rx
Artist: Good Charlotte
Album: Generation Rx
Genre: Pop Punk
Review by Adam Barras
Good Charlotte's seventh album is a return to form for the band. After a few years making catchy pop punk songs on Cardiology and Youth Authority mixed with the odd emotional track the boys return with what brought them their success, what delivered them their most successful songs, a reason, a message. Generation Rx has a lot to say.
Let's make it clear early, Rx is a common abbreviation for a medical prescription. So the album title hides nothing when it comes to a theme. Drug use, addiction, depression. Generation Rx is very much Good Charlotte's commentary on modern society, and a return to relevance for the band. I always found myself buying their new albums on vinyl when they came out. And their set at Download Festival in Melbourne last year was one of my highlights of the day, but it's been a long time since a Good Charlotte album hit me in the face and made me pay attention. This album does just that.
For an album with 9 songs it is both a positive and a hindrance, the 9 tracks are so packed and you can tell Joel and Benji have put everything into each song, but at the same time I see myself crying out for more songs, but would that have taken away from the album?
Let's talk about some stand out tracks. The self titled first track is a moody instrumental for its majority and shares a small amount of lyrics. The words "Where does all this pain come from? Where does it hide? Where does it go? Looking in the dark I couldn't see it. Are we divine? Are we alone?" Are powerful and perhaps are an incite into a drug addict or more so, someone from the outside looking in.
"Self Help" has simple but effective lyrics. "And it cuts like a knife, it feels like a fight to take back your life" sets a raw image of someone trying to start over after struggling with addiction. "Shadowboxer" is a standout for me. It's the type of Good Charlotte song you show your Mum to prove that they can still rock out after she says she likes the Madden boys from The Voice. It's the song my metal loving friend refused to accept that Good Charlotte performed. The song smacks you in the face from the start with a powerful guitar riff. It is a story told by Joel and about what seems to be his perspective of a lecture to someone caught in the world of drug use. Words like "When you look in the mirror and talk to yourself do you even see at all? All this hate, you chose to throw your life away" paint a sad picture of what the reality of life is for some people. This is one of the stand out tracks and is a return to the combination that made Good Charlotte what they are, heavy punk sound and emotion, and powerful lyrics that send a message.
For the longest time Joel has been the front man of Good Charlotte, with the odd song and backing vocal from Benji. "Prayers" let's Benji out in front and he shows that he is more than just a backing singer. "Prayers, they don't mean a thing at all, do they answer when you call?" continues the theme of addiction and drug use, but this song more than any others on the album show a narrative of the way Good Charlotte (and perhaps particularly Benji) see the world today and this is present when Benji screams out "None of this makes sense in this reality God just leaves the room when I turn on my TV". "Prayers" has been released as the next single of this album. The themes discussed above continues through the rest of the tracks and the album ("Better Demons" proves this) finishes on a positive note with "California" (The Way I Say I Love You) which is a classic upbeat Good Charlotte ballad.
I'll admit, I am a Good Charlotte fan, growing up listening to them I have a connection to their music, be it good or bad, but this album impressed me, I didn't know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised. This album had a lot to say, and people need to hear it. This band is not a throwback and are not irrelevant and Generation Rx proves that.
7.5 out of 10.
Generation Rx is out now via BMG.