Lizz, the Pop Punk Princess, is back with yet another go at the 5 Best. This time she takes on Good Charlotte …
When I was just entering middle school I had just embarked onto the whole, “music is my life” phase. It all started with Blink 182 who eventually led me to a bunch of old school punk bands because thats what they listened to. It also threw me into the world of Pop Punk. I was young and desperately trying to soak in as much of the music scene made possible to a young small town Oklahoman girl-constantly looking out for a cool new band that none of my friends had heard of. This was also during the time of the boy band/pop era that all my friends were really into, so forcing them to listen to Blink 182 and other random bands usually ended up in a bunch of pre-teen eye rolling.
I don’t remember exactly where I first stumbled upon Good Charlotte-maybe late night MTV-I mean this was way before YouTube was around. I just know the first time that I saw The Little Things music video I fell in love so fast..maybe it was all the teenage angst or maybe it was Benji Madden, clad out in plaid pants, padlock necklace, and black & pink spiked hair? Looking back..it was definitely Benji Madden.
Something about them was different than all the other bands that were popping out around then. Sum 41 was just making it on the scene and although I loved them they were all about being crazy and destructive. Good Charlotte just wanted to reach out to others and let them know they weren’t alone..and they did it in a very respectful way that many pop punk bands don’t follow.
I’m sure the Madden’s upbringing had a lot to do with the way that they carried themselves and the visions they had for their band. Although they were about making loud, stick it to the man music..they still found time to write about things like the love and appreciation of their mother, who raised them by herself for years. They wrote about their absent father often but never once tore into him like I’m sure they wanted to sometimes. They did everything carefully and I think thats what helped them move on and grow as much as they did.
I can remember running out and buying their first CD..I still have it..in my car..blue with white clouds. Getting home and going straight into my room, slamming the door, and planting myself in front of the CD player. Listening to every song on the CD and just completely soaking in these lyrics. Sure, I was young and really I hadn’t experienced much but I was from a super small town where everyone looked like everyone but I wanted pink hair, plaid pants, and my eyebrow pierced…cliche I know..but Good Charlotte got me. I suddenly needed a padlock necklace, over the top hair, and to cover everything I owned in sparrows.
The only other person who got me was my older brother, Andrew. He was a bit weird in school too..but more the Marilyn Manson-I’m going to wear a fishnet shirt with electrical tape X-s across my nipples-type. He would go to concerts I wasn’t allowed to go to because of my age but bring me home things-pictures of Misfits performing, my brothers arm around Gerald Caiafa, and just little flyers that I could post around my room. One night he surprised me with this baby blue tshirt that had a girl on it..like from a bathroom sign..and sure enough it was my first Good Charlotte shirt and better yet it was signed by all members. He had seen them in OKC with MxPx, another band I had grown to love. I was stupid then though and wore that shirt every chance I got..eventually completely washing away the signature of Benji that I had cherished so much.
It was so hard for me to pick out my Top 5 out of their music because each song has a specific memory for me or helped me through something. I struggled with not being able to include; I Don’t Wanna Stop, The Little Things, Emotionless, Movin On, The Anthem (because okay, that was a cool video, Joel looked boss on his bike), and The Young & The Hopeless..but I was able to finally narrow it down.
1. Waldorf Worldwide.
From their self titled album that was released in 2000. I love this song so much because its like the one song that screams Good Charlotte to me. The opening still brings me so much joy, especially the little “tikki tikki” in the beginning. I just loved that they were singing about wanting to be in a better place and that they knew eventually they would work their way there. It seemed like they had gotten a lot of crap where they were from for what they were doing and this song was just kind of a polite middle finger to those people saying, you can’t hold us back. If that doesn’t speak to young angsty teenagers then I don’t know what will.
2. My Bloody Valentine.
Okay, I listened to this song nonstop whenever The Young and the Hopeless CD first came out in 2002. I thought the instrumentals were so cool and it reminded me of like a Tim Burton inspired story mixed with something the Misfits would write (think..Saturday Night.)
3. Thank You Mom.
I had a hard time choosing between this one from their self titled CD and Emotionless from The Young and the Hopeless. This one having to do with the love and appreciation of their mom and Emotionless dealing with the lack of relationship with their father. I ended up choosing this one because back in the day when you listened to CDs no one told you there were “secret tracks” you would just happen to stumble upon them. This, unlike the NFG secret track that literally scared the crap out of me, was a nice surprise. I think why I love this song so much now is because being a single mom I hope that I can make enough difference in my daughter’s life that she thinks this highly of me. I love the picture that it paints too of them hearing their mother singing songs of praise while doing the dishes. Its just an overwhelmingly beautiful song of love.
This song also from The Young and the Hopeless. There is no real reason behind loving this song other than it was just a song I enjoyed a lot and still do.
5. I Heard You.
This is another song from their self titled CD..which obviously you can tell I had a few favorite CDs by GC. I really loved this one while I was younger because it again talked a lot about not being a popular kid. That kind of stuff was really important back then to really uncool kids like me. I enjoy listening to it now because of just pure nostalgia.
I’m glad I got to write this article, but I feel like there was so much I wanted to say or to convey that I wasn’t able to. I’m sure Good Charlotte hears it daily about how their music helped someone, even saved someone and I hope that they know they helped me. Sure, I was a little crazed at the time, I mean I had a pillow with an iron on Benji photo, but I was also young..but their music lasted in me and my goals for who I wanted to be when I became older. I am forever grateful for Good Charlotte.
Its cool because even now as an adult I was able to meet Billy Martin at Comicon and now in my own daughters room is a picture hand drawn and signed by him. Now just to get her a creepy Benji pillow, lol.