Pop-Punkers Embrace Teen Heart

Good Charlotte
Cardiology
Capitol

In latest project Cardiology, pop-punk group Good Charlotte devotes an entire album to the inner workings of the heart. But after hearing 15 tracks worth of lyrics like “this feeling’s legit” and “she sounds like sex on the radio,” it’s doubtful whether the band has emotional sides of their personas at all.

With few exceptions (like on throwback track “Silver Screen Romance”), Good Charlotte’s lyrics move on from the usual faux-punk lines about the agony of youth and the power of material wealth. Every song on the album is about love, yet not one reveals anything especially profound on the overused subject.

Cardiology essentially contains masculine, tattooed versions of T-Swift’s whiny pop songs, thinly masked by the nasally voice of Joel Madden and an abundant sprinkle of stale, amateur guitar solos. Although some tunes have catchy choruses, nothing stands out like the rebellious mall-punk anthem “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” did.

With the addition of “Standing Ovation,” there is one unexpected (though not necessarily good) surprise. The track harkens to Swift yet again, with country-rock guitars, saccharine vocals and prom-worthy lyrics about “making the most of every moment.”

The structure of the album includes an introduction, interlude and conclusion, meant to tie the tracks together and make the album seem more meaningful than it actually is. The introduction makes little to no sense, and lyrically tries to explain the mystery, technology and ancient history of cardiology — whatever that means.  The conclusion is perhaps the most annoying of all — a nearly three-minute hymn-like expansion of the intro, complete with realistic heart sound effects.

Despite such bombastic experiments, Good Charlotte falls into the mainstream pitfall of singing about love and romance without actually saying much at all. Cardiology just tries — and fails — to disguise it in the form of a concept record. (4/10)

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