I’m going to start this article about a 100% subjective form of art by saying that Kait DiBenedetto (of 18th & Addison) and Emily Berke’s opinions are wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. “The Chronicles of Life and Death” is the greatest Good Charlotte studio album of all time. Right. Right. Right. That being said, I am very happy with Kait DiBenedetto as a person/musician/NJ native, Emily Berke as a person/co-manager to 18th & Addison/assistant on all other Waldman Management projects, and the majority of the 100% subjective (did I mention that yet or ever?) list. But, they’re still wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. What a paradox.
Disclaimer: The ladies decided to omit greatest hits and remix records from this article. I support this. This means that we are 100% right. If you disagree, sue us.
This is the anthem:
Emily: We both chose Cardiology for this number, and that was something that we agreed on.
Kait: I’ll start this by saying that I truly dug four songs on this record, but I feel like the band was trying a little too hard to fit in with the bands that were around and releasing music at that time. You know? I mean, in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a bad album; it just wasn’t my favorite. Don’t hate me.
Emily: I feel like it was a little too “pop” pop for GC. I never want a band to stray away from changing its sound to take more musical risks. Bands should be free to create whatever music it wants to create. BUT, GC didn’t need to do that.
Kait: I just feel like they were pulling at straws. Maybe Good Charlotte wasn’t ready to put out a full length; an EP could have worked better.
Emily: If you had to pick a favorite song on this album what would it be?
Kait: Oh, man. I think my favorite song is either “There She Goes” or “1979”.
Emily: I liked “Let the Music Play,” but I can’t rank Cardiology any higher than this bottom spot.
Kait: Haha. EXACTLY. We’re also not too far apart in age, but I am a little older than you so my idea of GC is a little different than yours. I wasn’t sure how our combined list would pan out, because we were both in different parts of our lives when we both heard GC, but surprisingly we came to the same conclusion about everything.
Emily: Yeah and we’ll move on from Cardiology in a second, but the album came out in 2010, which was basically in the storm of my major emo phase; it’s just a phase, Mom. I loved the old GC, and when 2010 GC released Cardiology, the sad teen in me just didn’t totally get it.
Kait: I was graduating high school at that time, and I was just excited that they were putting out another record that wasn’t Good Morning Revival, and then I was kind of let down.
Emily: Speaking of Good Morning Revival….
Good Morning Revival (2007)
Kait: I know that we were kind of torn on this one at one point, but for me, this album would’ve been ranked much higher if “Keep Your Hands Off My Girl” wasn’t included.
Emily: That’s exactly what I was going to say! I was going to bring up that song and that song alone.
Kait: I just feel like if that song wasn’t on it I would be okay; I’m not ok (I promise). I really felt like it was cool idea in theory because the band was going in a different direction and wanted to experiment with a different genre, BUT I thought that the song itself is was a little too weird for GC. Especially for hardcore fans of the band’s earlier material.
Emily: I thought that everything was fine musically.
Kait: Anyway, “The River” (which featured two members of Avenged Sevenfold) was really really cool. I think that that liquid body was probably the best song on Good Morning Revival.
Emily: Yeah I have to agree with you on that one.
Kait: Well you don’t HAVE to, but I think that that’s all we have to say about it.
Emily: End dialogue and end scene.
Generation Rx (2018)
Emily: We didn’t agree with this one’s position on this 100% subjective list at first, but then I listened to it again last weekend: I came around.
Kait: When I come around.
Emily: Wrong band.
Kait: Anyway part two, when I first heard this album I was pleasantly surprised by a lot of its sonics and direction. I think that Generation Rx is a lot darker than most people would like, but it wasn’t too dark for me. I also dug that Benji Madden sang a little more at the forefront of this record. I love his voice.
Emily: The twins are amazing.
Kait: Indeed. Also, as a major fan of the band, I’ve personally dug into the nuts and bolts of its live shows; they took a different aesthetic this time around.
Emily: (fawning) Go on, Kait.
Kait: Everyone in the band wore a similar shirt with a different word on it. It seemed like the band was trying to send more of a message with this record than ever before, and I loved how genuine it felt to me. “Self Help” and “Prayers” are probably my top two songs on Generation Rx.
Emily: Those songs are great (Charlotte). I’m really glad that I gave this album another listen and rediscover the song “Shadowboxer”. That specific track really bumped the prescription there for me.
Kait: Well played, Emily.
Emily: I’m modest about how incredible I am.
Youth Authority (2016)
Kait: Like Tom (my fiancé and bandmate) and Scott said in their Billy Talent piece, it isn’t cool to like a band’s new material. I rarely skip any songs on this record and I’m miffed that it doesn’t get enough love. It’s really cool that the band had Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens on “Keep Swingin’”. In a bit of an unexpected but effective twist, the singer of Biffy Clyro (Simon Neil) was also featured on “Reason to Stay”. It sure was.
Emily: They’re REALLY different singers.
Kait: They sure are.
Emily: Youth Authority was a fantastic comeback album after a 5 year album. It also sounded a return to form, which is all that I wanted at that time.
Kait: I agree and I think that the band has a lot of strong songs on Youth Authority. I know that everybody, myself included, is inevitably going to compare this album to the first three that came out; I stand by Youth Authority as number four on this list.
Emily: The band did what it needed to do.
The Chronicles of Life and Death (2004)
Kait: Scott will be automatically upset with us for doing this because in his eyes The Chronicles of Life and Death should be number one, which I disagree with.
Scott: (coming out of nowhere) You’re wrong, Kait! (runs away)
Kait: (pauses) BUT it was awesome and among the band’s best full lengths. Coming from the yet-to-be-mentioned The Young and The Hopeless, and in a similar fashion to Generation Rx, this album came out a tad darker than I expected. However, at that point in my life I was ready for darker music. You also saw the band starting to modify its appearance with more eyeliner and totally different (dare I say, gothy) clothes.
Emily: Gothy works.
Kait: The music videos had an ominous vibe as well and really set the tone for the whole record. (looks for Scott but can’t find him) I really love this record!!!!
Emily: Ha! Before we started chatting, I wrote notes like a freaking nerd, but I also used the word darker (which I love). Darker. Just say it.
Emily: Thank you. This album came out in 2004, so I didn’t listen to it when it was first released as I was busy eating (anything but) peanut butter sandwiches that my mommy made me. I discovered The Chronicles of Life and Death maybe five years later when I graduated to a daily AM bottle of gin.
Emily: Sorry. MY first introduction to GC was the next album listed, and I liked this one a lot because took a 180 turn while holding onto many of the elements that made the band such a favorite for me. I don’t want to highlight a specific song; please just listen to The Chronicles of Life and Death all the way through.
Kait: Yeah, I think that all the songs on this record were and ARE really really good. This is another one where you shouldn’t skip much (or anything).
Emily: Final takeaways from this album – Darker. Listen to it now. It’s about 15 years old now, but it’s relevant to the band’s current direction, and dare I say, ahead of its time.
Kait: For sure. You can still listen to this and say, “Fuck yeah, Good Charlotte.”
Emily: Fuck yeah, Good Charlotte.
Good Charlotte (2001)
Kait: Some people love this record and some people hate it; I’m more of the latter. “Little Things” seemed to be everybody’s favorite song in 2001, but then the band had “The Motivation Proclamation,” which possibly out-shined “Little Things” for many. As I said before, I love it when Benji sings lead parts; he’s truly truly highlighted on “The Motivation Proclamation”.
Emily: I think if I was to choose one song off this album to talk about it would be “Little Things”. Not that it was the best song on the record, but it was THE song on the record. On a current note, I don’t think that you can go to any Emo Nite without hearing this song.
Kait: Yeah… And Mandy Moore was in the music video.
Emily: Mandy Moore was in the music video?
Kait: I think that she’s the blonde that’s a bitch to them.
Emily: Oh my god, I don’t remember that at all. Well, good for them. They really came out swinging from the gates.
Kait: This was a great first record to get people into the band. I was instantly in love from the first moment that I heard the five-piece (shout outs to Billy Martin and Paul Thomas for being in the band since this record, and to Aaron Escolopio for his drum work on this and only this record). Good Charlotte made me want to play guitar. Seriously. Even though it wasn’t anything complicated (see what I did there?) I learned all these songs first when I initially started playing guitar.
Emily: Simple plan.
Kait: Wrong band.
The Young and The Hopeless (2002)
Emily: I think that this may be everybody’s number one GC record, but that may be a generalization (Rx).
Kait: Everyone but Scott.
Emily: Everyone but Scott, but who cares about Scott? It’s not like this this is his article or anything.
Kait: I don’t understand how this can’t be everyone’s number one. Hold on, maybe we’re just crazy, but this the best GC record hands down. ALL of these songs are huge.
Emily: Uge. This was the album that introduced me to GC. The Young and The Hopeless is iconic GC. When I think back to the early 2000s in terms of pop-punk and the Myspace scene, The Young and The Hopeless is (dare I say) “The Anthem” to all of that. Mic drop.
Kait: Anybody, even your grandma (and she’s super cool; I saw your video), has probably heard a song on this record and liked it. Some listeners probably didn’t even know who GC was.
Emily: In closing, we’re movin’ on. I can’t believe that this is not Scott’s number one GC album, but this is his article so he has the final say. So Scott, if you want to rebuttal with your rankings now is your time.
No, yours was good (Charlotte). Here’s a playlist featuring one song from each album: