The infamous pop-punk band Good Charlotte is back with their new album, ‘Generation RX’ and they are as grittier, soul touching and controversial as ever.
After being on hiatus since 2011, the (seemingly disheartened and tired at life) five-piece has come back stronger than ever with an album tackling one of the biggest issues of our current generation. No more songs acting as a petty jab at parents or figures of authority, now Good Charlotte are tackling depression and suicide through the nine songs on this album. RX is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in America, so much so that people have called our generation of teenagers the generation of depression; showing the deeper meaning behind this record.
It’s an album that exposes the heartbreaking reality of many young people succumbing to their mental illnesses because of the insufficiency of health care needed; it’s perhaps the bands darkest and most adult album to date: and their best in a long time. The anticipation for this album was with good reason; the band seems re-vamped, angry, and ready to make a statement and this raw emotion is easily conveyed through the album.
From the opening track ‘Self-Care’ it is clear to see Good Charlotte has found their sound once again which seemed particularly absent pre-hiatus. ‘Shadowboxer’ and ‘Actual Pain’ talk about the ache teenagers feel and how scared they are to share their feelings since no one seems to care, that ‘all this pain (we) feel is tearing (us) apart’. ‘Shadowboxer’ is a guitar-driven track, showing off their musical side and mirroring their anger. Yet ‘Actual Pain’ conveys they aren’t afraid to show their own vulnerability lyrically through the harmonious ballad: grittiness is still present though; both songs blast powerful choruses that is a life-force, pulsing throughout the record. Songs such as ‘Cold Hand’ then offer a lyrically ingenious on top of a canorous tune of sadness, perfectly portraying the theme and topics flowing through the album. It’s an evolution from ‘The Anthem’ to more serious lyrical themes and topics of which the songs represent.
Various other topics are discussed through the record, religion being one but more specifically the division and pain it causes; this is mainly evident in ‘Prayers’, saying ‘none of this makes sense in this reality. / God just leaves the room when I turn on the TV.’ Then there’s ‘Better Demons’, talking about how people hold onto them when they’re scared – the beginning of the track features a voice speaking of children traumatised in early life, how they cannot bond with other people, love them, accept the love and hurt. There’s also what seems like an interview with a little girl speaking of a nightmare she receives, about a bad man who comes into her room and hurts her. Interpret this how you will, but I think we all know this is covering an overt taboo in society no matter where you are, and to me it’s outstanding how Good Charlotte is speaking out, exposing people through the power of their music.
It’s also exciting to see them go back to their older sound in songs such as ‘California (The way I say I Love You)’, showing the pop side of their pop-punk genre. But why change the course of the record in the last song? By ending on this, happy, melodically brilliant song it adds contrast to the themes throughout the rest of the record. It’s a symbol that through all the pain, the darkness, the fighting your inner demons, there is people there for you who love you, who will support you, and will never leave you. And this is song is saying to remember that.
Good Charlotte will be taking back their thrown of pop-punk very soon, and it’s about time.
WORDS | EVIE MADDEN