THE GRADE B
BOTTOM LINE Using teenage pop-punk to communicate adult ideas.
Good Charlotte returns after six years with a decidedly different outlook on life on its new album “Youth Authority” (MDDN).
Led by the Madden Brothers, Benji and Joel, Good Charlotte stormed onto the scene in 2002 with the brash pop-punk of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” rolling out five albums in 10 years before their recent break. With “Youth Authority,” they use the same pop-punk trappings to tell more adult stories.
At times, they sound a bit bewildered, like in “40 Oz. Dream,” where they sing: “Now all the punk rockers are over 40, they’re coaching Little League and reading stories.” On “Life Changes,” they worry, “Best friends become strangers, so you get up and shake it off.”
But the Maddens are most effective in songs like “Life Can’t Get Much Better,” using the simple rock anthem to encourage fans of all ages. On “Stray Dogs” — much like 5 Seconds of Summer and All Time Low, who recently collaborated with them — they build a love song that would work for a wide range of rockers or even country stars, showing just how much they have grown.