Rating – 4.5/5
Instead of looking at the present and whatever fresh hell 2020 has in store for us, it’s become more and more compelling to look back. The rose tinted warmth of nostalgia that dims the pain of the past and leaves only the warm memories and the happier feelings. Unreachable but still heartwarming to look back on.
Good Charlotte landed in 2000 with their self-titled debut and followed in two years later with The Young and The Hopeless and formed part of the pop punk world that dawned with the beginning of the new millennium.
They embodied the zeitgeist of the younger generation that were already weary of the cult ofcelebrity and the faux optimism of a world that didn’t seem to care about their futures. In a similar vein the holiday period is often a time for reflection. A time where being alone in the midst of all the usual social gathering takes on a starker contrast. A period of reflection for dreams undone, life unlived and those that have gone to never return.
“2020 being the 20th anniversary of our self-titled debut album really made us feel like wewanted to release something for those fans who’ve gone on this journey with us,” says Benji Madden. “The holidays can be a rough time of year – thinking of the ones we’ve lost and longing for moments that have passed us by is definitely a part of the joy and melancholy. For us, this song speaks to both sides of those holiday feelings and we hope it brings some solace to anyone who needs it.”
The single “Last December” comes as a bit of a surprise release. It’s been two years since Generation Rx and the band have been fairly quiet until now. The track itself is unmistakably Good Charlotte. At the risk of damning with faint praise their knack of making even an introspective song sound anthemic is the prevalent vibe.
It’s still catchy, still singable, still filters right into your brain like an earworm. I defy you not to be singing along about halfway through. It’s a song of loss, reflection and regret but in a somewhat holistic and positive way. It’s as if you’re coming out of the tunnel into the light, as opposed to staring down into the unplumbed depths. “That’s just the luck we get, and nobody gives a shit, everythings ok and then we die” sounds like the most depressing refrain ever. Like you’re off for a nice warm bath with your toaster. It’s not. Somehow the vocal, the light and soaring guitar and the driving rhythm section gives the song a sense of recognition. It looks life in the eye, sees what there is, and just struts on regardless. Rather than one of those songs that sounds all jaunty but the lyrics tell a vastly different story, such as “Love will tear us apart” by Joy Division; this is a track where the music and the lyrics are in sync. They match and they engage but in a positive, affirming, even happy way. It’s absolutely a song of reflection but boy is it a song for right now.
If there has ever been a period in our recent history that we need this kind of positivity it’s now. It wouldn’t work anywhere near as well without the acknowledgment of what’s missing, what’s gone and what is yet to be. A surprising yet welcome stocking filler from Good Charlotte. You could do a lot worse than to give this a listen. After all it’s a break from the deluge of Christmas tunes and you’ll definitely not be disappointed.
Review by Jim Clinch