Formed in 1996, Good Charlotte has been at the forefront of pop punk for two decades now. Led by the infamous Madden brothers, the band has returned in full force this summer, headlining Warped Tour and releasing Your Authority, the group’s latest album.
Comprised of 13 tracks, Your Authority shows the band still has what it takes to be atop the pop punk echelon. Though they bring catchy songs, angst, energy and killer guitar licks, Good Charlotte also brings more than just good music to the album.
“Life Changes” kicks the album off to a solid start with great lyrics and a high-energy performance, but the best songs come at the album’s peak. From “40 oz. Dream” to “Stray Dogs,” Good Charlotte has a five-song streak of pure pop-punk genius. Each song is stylistically distinct, an element of the genre that's very difficult for bands to achieve.
“40 oz. Dream” is highly reminiscent of Bowling For Soup’s “1985,” adding a nice early-2000s vibe to the album. From this classic pop-punk tune, Good Charlotte moves into “Life Can’t Get Much Better,” a slightly more refined song. With a slower beat, less of an electronic focus and a bigger spotlight on Joel Madden’s killer vocals, the song highlights their innate ability to craft brilliant lyrics.
And then, as if the song never ended, they seamlessly move into “Keep Swingin’” in a fashion similar to Kanye West’s effortless transitions in The Life of Pablo. Though each song on Your Authority is unique, they blend together to create a cohesive album that narrates the story of a tenured pop punk band.
After “Keep Swingin’” Good Charlotte continues its streak with “Reason to Stay,” a song that combines Joel Madden’s impressive vocal range with the band’s classic pop-punk sound. However, the best is yet to come; “Stray Dogs” is one of my favorite songs on the album.
With its unusual lyrics and masterful instrumentation, “Stray Dogs” packs the punch needed to make this album a success. If a twenty-year-old band is going to put out a new album, it needs to feel fresh and relevant. Fortunately, for Good Charlotte, they’ve remained relevant due to their unwavering talent coupled with the Madden Brothers’ production chops, facts echoed by their latest release.