Good Charlotte – ‘Generation Rx’ (Album Review)

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After a decade of slogging away as one of the most hated pop-punk bands of all time, Good Charlotte went on hiatus and returned with 2016’s Youth Authority. It was a decent effort, and recognised as such, a promising sign of lessons learnt and extra miles run while sweating blood in the name of self-improvement. At their best, Good Charlotte stood up for the world’s downtrodden misfits – and that positive stance is likely why they’ve lasted so long, even as they lost their way.

Generation Rx is driven by a desire to talk about serious current issues, a common theme adopted by countless bands and artists in 2018 as they struggle to comprehend and cope with the world around them. It’s a noble, respectable quest in itself, but for whatever reason, Good Charlotte have never pushed themselves beyond basic, borderline adolescent lyrical lines, and that trend hasn’t been bucked on Generation Rx. Most likely, it’s a move intended to ensure that teenage audiences remain engaged, but the end result feels barely effective and almost patronising for the most part.

Kids have brains too, and continuing to appeal to the lowest common denominator doesn’t fit well with a desire to address complex, volatile topics. Good Charlotte repeatedly skim the surface of our times, rather than diving deeper – and we all know there’s plenty of messy shit to get stuck into down there. Why not take the plunge?

For all its superficiality, Generation Rx is still the best Good Charlotte album since the key-single-packed The Young And The Hopeless. Production-wise they’ve really levelled up, and despite the continued use of cloyingly heavy Auto-Tune, there are some quality screaming performances on here. The songwriting continues to languish in generic territory – mostly predictably cheesy, overproduced pop-rock, with a handful of Linkin Park pastiches and a couple of power ballads thrown in there – but especially for Good Charlotte, this is listenable more often than not.

Standing solemnly above its peers, advance single Prayers makes the most incisive points found on Generation Rx. Religion remains a touchy subject in 2018, and questioning the validity of requesting assistance from a higher power that probably doesn’t exist is a bold move for such a prominent band. Prayers is a song you can put on repeat multiple times, but the same unfortunately doesn’t go for this album as a whole.


Pre-order Generation Rx (out September 14) on iTunes.

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Posted on 13 September 2018

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