Good Charlotte The Young and the Hopeless (Epic)
"We got nothin' to prove," good Charlotte declare
on the finale of The Young and the Hopeless, the Maryland punk-pop quartet's second album. But Benji and Joel, the
identical twins who co-founded Good Charlotte as teenagers, sometimes sound too desperate to establish their punker-than-thou
credentials. The us-against-them bravado of "The Anthem," "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and "The Young and the Hopeless"
(which ridicules "critics and trust-fund kids") is strained. Good Charlotte are much more persuasive when they let their vulnerability
crack through the surface of these slightly overbaked songs, in which elaborate production touches (strings, timpani-like
drum flourishes) mask the band's three-chord limitations. "My Old Man" and "Emotionaless" wrestle with complex feelings in
the wake of a father's departure, but relief arrives as hormones pogo in "Riot Girl." When Joel yelps, "Christina, wouldn't
wanna meet her," it's way more punk rock than sniping at rich kids.