If you are looking for the Good Charlotte sound, you will not find it in this journey through the beach cities of California. Joel and Benji Madden leave their beloved pop punk sound behind. Instead embracing alternative rock, country and pop.
The project instantly puts you in the drivers seat of a red convertible driving down PCH as the band tunes the radio with “Dear Jane (Intro).” The eloquently written song itself keeps this upbeat vibe alive. With lyrics like “I’m gonna find a way to float away like a feather,” and “All I can say is that I hope you feel the same,” this I-hope-we-can-still-be-friends breakup song almost makes me want to be broken up by these brothers.
The second track, “Brixton,” layers harmonies for the intro refrain of “Stay don’t go” and keeps a constant drumbeat in the forefront throughout the song. Here’s where alternative rock meets The Beach Boys.
Only “Jealousy (All Your Friends In Silverlake),” the seventh track, has the slightest glimmer of pop punk. However, the 80s inspired beat contradicts the bands just enough to create a completely different sound.
Unlike many albums, when you download Greetings From California… you’ll find the album has two sides, as if it were an old school tape. The B side of this figurative cassette has more ballads and deeply introspective songs. It starts much like the first, with static of a car radio being tuned. This time, the dial settles on “California Rain,” a love song about making it through the hard times. Of side B’s second track, “Brothers,” Benji says:
For us, we had a story from our childhood and we thought it would be nice to close that chapter so we wanted to write a song and make peace with it. It’s a song about forgiveness and it is a lot of closure for us. (Hunger TV)
Like artists such as Ryan Tedder, The Madden Brothers use the country idiom to write about people close to them.
The album closes with “Empty Spirits,” a slow reflective ballad rooted in raw strings guitar picking to complete the reflective side.
If you’ve never been to California, after this tour through the cost and it’s sounds, now you have.
You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here.
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