Album review: "Cardiology"
Even before the American release of Good Charlotte's fifth album, "Cardiology," daggers had been drawn. One British pop magazine trumpeted in its review: "Monstrously offensive record which doesn't really deserve your time/money/ears." Ouch! You won't find that clipping in the media kit.
Nor will you find many folks painfully convulsed by the album, unless they have zero tolerance for radio-tailored pop-punk. Sure, "Cardiology" sounds formulaic at times, so much so that punk connections seem irrelevant. But the studio strategy scarcely sets the band apart from most of the competition seeking wide exposure. Besides, "Cardiology" represents a step forward, easily trumping the group's previous release, 2007's dance-driven "Good Morning Revival."
This time around, the Maryland-bred band embraces a punchier sound and a prevailing theme: In short, you gotta have heart. Encouraging words ("Let the Music Play") give way to songs about family ties ("Harlow's Song - Can't Dream Without You"), aching homesickness ("There She Goes"), romantic encounters ("Sex on the Radio") and party romps ("Like It's Her Birthday" and "Last Night"). The guitar hooks and harmonized choruses are more potent than the lyrics, but with 15 tracks to choose from, you can discard five songs and still have an album that holds up pretty well. For longtime fans at least, it's a safe bet.
- Mike Joyce, March 2011