The Madden Brothers – Greetings from California (Review)



The Good Charlotte twins release their debut album and it’s nothing like pop punk!




No matter how much I miss Good Charlotte and how much I wish the band would return with the greatest album of all time, this doesn’t look like happening any time soon. For now, though, I can deal just fine with some ‘Madden music’.

The Madden Brothers have finally released their debut album as a duo and it seems refreshing in its summery feel. Benji and Joel have decided to take a break from Good Charlotte (without giving up on the band altogether), to prove that they can in fact write good music, with no hints of pop punk.

Of course, the pop element is still visible (or audible, I guess) in Greetings from California; only this time there’s a ‘70s vibe, carried by a Californian breeze. The two-sided record is not just an ode to Los Angeles but a recounting of memories -sometimes lighter and others darker- which have shaped the Maddens’ lives.

In comparison to Good Charlotte and the difficulties they had to go through to get recognition as a band, this record is more of a personal appreciation of all things good, underneath the sunny Californian sky. With endless opportunities, music and loving families, how could they be less grateful?

U R (written for Joel’s wife, Nicole Richie) proves just that, while We Are Done celebrates a fun new era where the Maddens fearlessly speak their minds and re-introduce themselves. The nostalgic Dear Jane reminds us a bit of old-school Good Charlotte, but again with a more retro attitude, while Love Pretenders is beautifully realistic. “Maybe we should just be love pretenders cause baby we don’t need these scars,” sings Joel in denial.

The ‘darker’ side of the record, with songs like Brother and Suddenly, shows that the twins remember where they came from and what it took them to get there, but also that “California’s waiting” and the rain eventually comes. Good Gracious Abbey must be the catchiest song I’ve heard in ages, talking about a long lost friend who’s not into the rock and roll lifestyle anymore!

As with Good Charlotte, The Madden Brothers sure know how to end an album on a sad note. So that’s what they did with the super emotional Empty Spirits, listening to that same old playlist and drinking their feelings at the bar…

For all those Benji and Joel fans who hoped this would be another Good Charlotte album, it surely isn’t. But it’s not necessarily worse, nor better; it’s just different. Anyone who’s looking for a chill-out, fun record will absolutely embrace it.

* Image courtesy of Tricia Gdowic, Flickr


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