[Album Review] Good Charlotte – ‘Youth Authority’

When Good Charlotte sort of made a return from their years long hiatus (it’s been 6 years since they even released an album) on a movie theme song, we could only dream of a proper return. Then the big news broke later on which led us up to the moment where GC is on repeat once again and I’m writing about the new album that is Youth Authority – out today!

Life certainly changes, yet this record could influence today’s youth in a way The Young and the Hopeless did to us, now well into 20-somethings, growing up. The punk rock energy and catchy anthems that really hit home are still alive (“Makeshift Love”) and the neighbourhood never sounded so good. Summery “40 oz. Dream” discusses the exact nostalgia I feel from the whole record.

Despite the major throwback feelings, the one real surprise is the guest appearances as Good Charlotte hasn’t really been on that bandwagon. Hearing Simon Neil’s voice first on “Reason to Stay” made me doubt which album I’m on for a second (FYI, Biffy Clyro also just released an epic new record). The statement, “We’ve been gone a while but now we’re here to stay,” on the upbeat “Keep Swingin” feat. Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens makes the band’s intention clear. It’s also a good example of what great things happen when legends and new influential people of the scene join forces. The break up ballad of “Stray Dogs” leads up to the short interlude that is “Stick to Your Guns.” It’s a small moment within the record yet the more inspirational – “If it makes you happy, you can ride that feeling.”

Family issues and how school sucked are a reoccurring theme in the Madden Brothers’ song writing. “The Outfield” reflects to that while the main focus is on wanting to run away. The “young and hopeless” reference in the chorus though. Sneaky…

Some of my most favourite records have at least one song where an emotional breakdown from my part is inevitable – “Cars Full of People” is the one here. My first listen of this track was walking down busy Liverpool Street in London this morning. Stopping by a red light I looked around and it all clicked into a perfect people-watching moment with the most fitting soundtrack ever. Moments like this make me realize how we don’t spend enough time to stop for a second to appreciate the simple things in life. I’m crossing my fingers it makes it to the set list of upcoming shows.

The majority of Youth Authority is like early GC-eras while “WAR” is the song resembling the dearest to my emo heart: The Chronicles of Life and Death. As one can guess from the title, the song writing touches a darker tone and the instrumental diversity is the most impressive here; especially love the bass-line on the second verse, and the orchestral inputs on the bridge. It’s a massively compound track.

I was obsessed with “Movin’ On” (the last song on The Young and the Hopeless) back in the day and I think the last song on this record “Moving On” (this must not be a coincidence) is surely growing on me as well. It’s sad in lyrics yet keeps the grandiose effect that “WAR” started. Love, love, love.

Well, life can’t get much better. These punk rockers might be nearly 40, coaching little leagues and reading stories most of the time but they totally nailed one of the best comebacks of the year.

Welcome back, Good Charlotte!

Youth Authority is available now here.

Dóra Udvardi

Dóra Udvardi

Writer. Photographer. Admirer of Arts.