Good Charlotte

Cardiology

Written by: PP on 02/11/2010 05:44:22

I'll admit to being one of the few who actually liked the previous Good Charlotte effort, the gloomy 80s dance-pop oriented "Good Morning Revival" from three years ago, partly because their new half-gothic half pop punk sound aligned them relatively close to Alkaline Trio, who happen to be one of my all time favorite bands. But even I have to concede that the songs on the album, catchy as they may have been, were almost instantly forgettable. Repeat-listening value was close to zero, with the vast majority of songs functioning as a quick fix for consuming something sugary and sing-alongable rather than of any musical value. Three years later, the band are still at it, having released their fifth album despite a wealth of criticism from all across the board aimed at the band in the last five years or so. You gotta give them for trying.

The good news for those who didn't like the dance-beats on "Good Morning Revival" is that "Cardiology" is a return to the playful pop punk of megahit "The Lifestyles Of The Rich And The Famous", though in a much more polished and cleaner form that still recalls "Back To Hell"-era Alkaline Trio in many ways. The singles "Like It's Her Birthday", "Sex On The Radio" are hook-oriented pop rock songs that don't differ much from the definition of mainstream major label pop punk, but they are decent nonetheless and good enough to withstand scrutiny over more than just a couple of listens. "Counting The Days" falls into this category as well, sort of, and "Silver Screen Romance" is a chord-by-chord rendition of "The Lifestyle..." more or less. It's nothing groundbreaking - or even necessarily anything warranting a grade in the higher quartile of our scale - but it's hard to trash it as garbage like some reviewers have already done. They're light-hearted, straight-forward pop punk songs that embrace the mainstream fully and without regret...or well, you could argue for some regret considering how the band have seemingly reversed their evolution back to the days when they were a much smaller band without the stigma that their name carries nowadays.

Still, it's difficult to escape having the same thoughts about "Cardiology" as about the last Fall Out Boy album. It's so obviously aimed at the masses of mainstream teenagers who haven't discovered better albums in the genre yet. The songs are a little too polished and far too predictable to gain traction in the minds of those of us more devoted into the various music scenes, lacking the edge and songwriting talent to write songs any better. Or perhaps the lack of talent isn't the issue, considering the band has previously written awesome material just like FOB, but they've either lost their touch or chosen the wrong direction artistically to follow their own vision. This is exemplified especially by the intro, outro and the interlude tracks, which normally could be ignored in a review such as this, but they're perfect for highlight the transparency that shines from Good Charlotte's songs: they are completely pointless. But every genre needs its stepping stone albums that are deisgned for those who are still in the learning phase when it comes to music. For that purpose, "Cardiology" is decent, even good in places. For us experienced people, however, this is a record that emits a distinctly average vibe: the songs aren't terrible, but I can name a dozen bands just from the top of my head who've released better albums in the genre just this year alone.

Download: Sex On The Radio, Silver Screen Romance
For the fans of: Fall Out Boy's "Folie A Deux", Simple Plan, Yellowcard's "Lights And Sounds"
Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.10.2010
Capitol

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