Good Charlotte: A Young And Hopeless Retrospective
You know who was awesome? Fucking Good Charlotte, man. Good Charlotte got big in 2003, when I was 16 and was a newly-minted punk rock fan. I was listening to the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks, a little bit of the Clash, some Ramones, and tons and tons of ska. Everyone my age had some level of appreciation for Green Day, friends had gotten me into NOFX, Anti-Flag, and Alkaline Trio, and Blink-182 was ostensibly the new wave of punk. And then came Good Charlotte, with their leopard-print hair and danceable punk rock, and even though they were way more snarky and definitely not as hardcore as I wanted to present myself as being, it was hard not to fall in love.
I mean, now I look back at songs like “Boys & Girls” and cringe. And also bop my head, because despite the content of the lyrics (“Girls don’t like boys, girls like cars and money”), it’s a fun enough song musically, and the video was hilarious. That’s the heart of Good Charlotte’s success — they fuck up, but they fuck up with a good attitude. I think that’s kind of the point.
Joel and Benji Madden are back in the news, between Joel being an adorable dad, Benji being newly (and also adorably) married to Cameron Diaz, and their new band, The Madden Brothers, putting out pop music in a more classic sense of the term. Let’s look back on some of the best and worst moments in Good Charlotte/Madden history:
1. Benji Madden’s liberty spikes. Benji Madden made me believe that I could pull off liberty spikes. It turns out I was incorrect. I wish I’d had his stylist.
2. When they got rich and famous off of a song ridiculing the rich and famous. Which is a quip I’m sure they’ve never heard before. It was a super-funny video, though.
3. When they appeared on iCarly. Producer Eric Valentine explained this bizarre incident: “There was the idea, not so much on their part as on the part of the people around them, to try and hit certain demographics hard.”
4. When I totally cried the first time I watched the “Hold On” video. It was really moving to a 16-year-old!
5. The fact that they’re buds with Pharrell Williams. Good Charlotte and Pharrell’s band, N.E.R.D., were both featured on the 2002 Warped Tour, and they’ve been friends ever since.
6. That time Joel Madden was dating Hillary Duff, even though he was 25 and she was 16. Apparently he was a super cool boyfriend and her mother approved, so there’s that.
7. That time they went dance. I will always and forever defend “Dance Floor Anthem” as a damn good song.
8. And then that time that they released an album of dance remixes of Good Charlotte hits. Including this remix from The White Tie Affair and Mat Devine of Kill Hannah, just to give you an idea of the cultural moment in which this was happening.
9. When Benji ko’ed former MTV VJ Riki Rachtman in 1 minute and 42 seconds during a celebrity boxing match. Rachtman can talk all the shit he wants, apparently Benji’s got a good hook.[/videoembed]
10. When they sold out on their former animal rights activism by becoming the face of KFC Australia. I mean, hey, people are allowed to change, right? Also, does anyone else feel like Benji seems palpably uncomfortable in this commercial?
11. The fact that both Madden brothers have embraced becoming arm candy for famous women. I’d be down for being Nicole Ritchie or Cameron Diaz’s arm candy, too.[/videoembed]
12. The total earnestness and lack of irony in this video for their new band’s single, “We Are Done.” It’s adorable to see them hamming for the camera the way they always have during a more traditional anthemic pop song, but man, doesn’t it feel like they really mean it?
What are your favorite Good Charlotte moments? Discuss in the comments!
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