Good Charlotte, "Cardiology"

68 Billboard Rating

Early on "Cardiology," Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden declares that "we'll stay young forever." A decade and five albums into its career, the rock band certainly sounds as youthful as ever. But age has brought some more mature insights and a few tender melodies, including the songs "There She Goes" and "Harlow's Song (Can't Dream Without You"). But Madden, twin brother Benji and their cohorts mostly work in more buoyant territory, driving most of the album's songs with meaty guitar riffs and gang harmony vocals. They also incorporate those elements into a broad range of stylistic approaches. The tracks "Let the Music Play," "Counting the Days" and "Silver Screen Romance," for example, are standard-issue Vans Warped tour kind of anthems. But "Like It's Her Birthday" features an urban underpinning and "Last Night," humorously recounting a post-party blackout, mixes Rolling Stones guitar hooks with a slamming four-on-the-floor beat. "Alive" offers a power-rock drone before pulling back for the verses, while "Standing Ovation" has a rootsy kind of shimmer. Elsewhere, the nostalgic tune "1979" is so pop it makes the Jonas Brothers sound like Scandinavian death metal.