Album Review: Good Charlotte's "Generation Rx"

I remember the day I bought Good Charlotte’s debut album. I drove to a Best Buy with my recently acquired drivers license. I was already a fan, having discovered them through MP3.com. From then on, everyone in my immediate vicinity would be exposed to “Festival Song” on repeat. Good Charlotte are the reason I attended my first Warped Tour in 2001. I may or may not have held Joel Madden’s hand during their set. I was also a fan of their non-album track “The Click” which was the theme song for MTV’s short-lived animated series, "Undergrads." I even toured with the Bamboozle Roadshow in 2010, where they were the headliners alongside All Time Low, Third Eye Blind and Hanson. What I’m saying is: We go way back.
So let’s get into GC’s seventh studio album, shall we? First of all, lyrically so relevant. Generation Rx is a comment on—you may have guessed—recreational drug abuse. The lead single, “Actual Pain” was a response to the death of 21-year-old rapper Lil Peep, who overdosed on fentanyl and Xanax in November of last year. The band performed it at his memorial in December, along with a cover of Peep's "Awful Things."
Good Charlotte - Awful Things (Lil Peep tribute)
Sadly poignant coming one week after the death of 26-year-old rapper Mac Miller, although the official cause of death has not been reported yet. SIGH.
Not to be overly dramatic, but to the youths who look to music as a lifeline, this album has the potential to be IT. The second track, “Self Help” encourages introspection in a time when the world is in a state of upheaval. "Searching for the meaning / I'm living in these feelings / I'm ready for a reason to believe / Now I'm working on my insides / 'Cause outside there's no reasoning.”
Joel Madden told Billboard “Self Help” and the third track, “Shadowboxer” is "the most vulnerable I've ever been in opening up and sharing my own thoughts and perspectives. Those are very meaningful because it's not hiding behind any kind of anger, I'm not displacing it on anyone else. I'm actually just kind of opening up and sharing a personal thought, an experience without anything to hide behind.”
“Prayers” is another track that takes aim at the current state of culture in the US, "Prayers, they don't mean a thing at all / Do they answer when you call? / These prayers, when you don't mean what you say / Would you die for me today? / No, I just can't relate.” Although the first thing that comes to mind is the epidemic of school shootings, Good Charlotte’s music video addresses the hardship of immigrants. “The video profiles a real life friend of the band and his parents as they work hard and contribute to their community even though they are under constant threat of deportation by I.C.E,” the band told Rolling Stone. “Despite everything they are up against, they remain optimistic and proud to call themselves American.”
“Cold Song” is Benji Madden’s personal favorite, lamenting "I want you to know, you're not alone / Everything you are and everything you're not / When happiness dies and the pain, it will come / Life's funny, it's a game we play / You know we run."
“Leech” is Linkin Park-esque, a chronicle of family drama featuring guest vocalist Sam Carter of Architects.
The second to last track, “Better Demons,” includes audio from a 1990 documentary about child abuse. Read more about that on Genius. 
The closing track, “California (The Way I Say I Love You)” is my personal favorite. Am I often partial to songs about my home state? Sure. But this 4 minute outro feels like a dose of reassurance and hope, a good track to wrap yourself in after half an hour of looking inward, assertively addressing your inner demons.
Whether or not an album is my favorite has everything to do with what I need at the moment, and nothing to do with composition, musicianship or anything else an actual critic might measure it with. That said, Generation Rx is not what I need right now—but I know there are a lot of someones out there who will find this 9-track album to be just the melodic cure-all they’re looking for.
Listen to Generation Rx on Spotify.
Good Charlotte’s tour kicks off their tour on October 12 in Mexico City. Full list of dates below.
Good Charlotte North American Tour Dates
October 12, 2018 - Mexico City, Mexico - Open Air ACMX
October 13, 2018 - Puebla, Mexico - Tecate Comuna
October 16, 2018 - Orlando, FL - Hard Rock Live
October 17, 2018 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
October 19, 2018 - Raleigh, NC - The Ritz
October 20, 2018 - Lynchburg, VA - Phase 2
October 21, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore
October 23, 2018 - Worcester, MA - The Palladium
October 25, 2018 - Toronto, ON - Rebel
October 26, 2018 - Montreal, QC - MTelus
October 27, 2018 - Syracuse, NY - SI Hall at the Fairgrounds
October 28, 2018 - Cleveland, OH - Agora Theatre
October 29, 2018 - New York, NY - Terminal 5
November 01, 2018 - Detroit, MI - The Fillmore
November 02, 2018  - Columbus, OH - Express Live!
November 03, 2018 - Grand Rapids, MI - Monroe 20
November 04, 2018 - Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre
November 06, 2018 - Minneapolis, MN - Skyway Theatre
November 07, 2018 - Kansas City, MO - Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
November 09, 2018 - Oklahoma City, OK - Diamond Ballroom
November 10, 2018 - San Antonio, TX - Aztec Theater
November 11, 2018 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
November 12, 2018 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
November 14, 2018 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theater
November 15, 2018 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex
November 16, 2018 - Garden City, ID - Revolution Concert House
November 17, 2018 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
November 18, 2018 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SODO
November 20, 2018 - San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theater
November 21, 2018 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium
November 23, 2018 - Phoenix, AZ - The Van Buren
November 24, 2018 - Las Vegas, NV - The Pearl at The Palms
Good Charlotte European/UK Tour Dates
February 01, 2019 - Zürich, Switzerland - X-Tra
February 03, 2019 - Milan, Italy - Alcatraz
February 04, 2019 - Munich, Germany - Zenith
February 05, 2019 - Cologne, Germany - Palladium
February 07, 2019 - Brussels, Belgium - AB
February 08, 2019 - Paris, France - Zenith
February 09, 2019 - Offenbach, Germany - Stadthalle
February 11, 2019 - Prague, Czech Republic - Forum Karlin
February 12, 2019- Warsaw, Poland - Torwar
February 13, 2019 - Berlin, Germany - Columbiahale
February 15, 2019 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg - Rockhal
February 16, 2019 - Hamburg, Germany - Sporthalle
February 18, 2019 - Tilburg, Netherlands - 013
February 20, 2019 - London, United Kingdom - Alexandra Palace

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