Spring – Summer 2004 at Sound City, Vans Nuys, CA; Ocean Studios, Burbank, CA; Reaction Studios, Toronto, ON; Umbrella Sound Studios, Toronto, ON; Soundtrack Studios, New York, NY; Sidecar Studio, North Hollywood, CA
Chuck is the third studio album from Canadian rock band Sum 41. The album was released on October 12, 2004. It is the band's last album to feature lead guitarist Dave Baksh. He left the band on May 11, 2006 to pursue his own career with his new band Brown Brigade. Chuck has peaked at No. 2 on the Canadian Albums chart and was the band's highest-charting album until it would be surpassed by Underclass Hero in 2007. In 2005, At the 34th Juno Awards, Chuck won Rock Album of the Year. It is the band's heaviest and most serious album to date. The album has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
In 2004, the band was filming a documentary for War Child Canada in the Congo. The film was called Rocked: Sum 41 in Congo and was released in 2005 by MTV. However, fighting broke out during the filming while the band were staying in a hotel. The band waited for the fighting to die down, but it did not. During that time, a U.N. peacekeeper, Charles "Chuck" Pelletier, called for armored carriers to take the hotel's occupants out of the hot zone (Chuck was staying in the same hotel during that time). After nearly six hours, the carriers arrived, and the band and the forty other civilians were taken to safety. In honor of Pelletier, the band decided to name their next album after him upon returning to the studio. Because of this, the album has an anti-war theme throughout the album, suggesting that the government will be the ones to blame when innocent people die. Deryck Whibley said in an interview that bands like Metallica and Linkin Park were also inspirations for the sound and tone for the album. The album received mainly positive reviews, with critics hailing the new tone, musically and lyrically. The album also won a Juno Award in 2005 for Best Rock Album of the Year. The album was certified gold in Japan, double platinum in Canada and gold in the United States. In an online poll, "Pieces" was voted the favorite song, with "We're All to Blame" coming in second.
Chuck has received critical acclaim, with most critics and fans even hailing the album as their best. Allmusic gave the album a positive review, saying "Chuck is a concise album that clocks in at just over a half-hour, with a basic understanding that fast and loud is what the band does best." Entertainment Weekly said that "It may sound heinous on paper, but trust us, the first single, "We're All To Blame," is far better than it has a right to be." E! Online said that "But whether they're being snotty or serious, there is a constant thread at work: those catchy melodies." Music OMH said that Chuck "isn’t perfect" but also added that "Sum 41 have certainly added a heck of a lot more colour to their previously, partially monochrome musical output." Acey of Sputnikmusic said "It isn’t your classy, fun Sum 41 pop-punk that everyone learned to love, but with singles like Pieces and We’re All To Blame, Sum 41 can still keep your interest by creating some clever songs." Lane Devis of 411mania.com compared the album to Blink 182's 2003 self-titled album, Green Day's American Idiot, and Good Charlotte's The Chronicles of Life and Death, saying "The lyrics are serious in this album are far cries from the immature lyrics and antics that have become almost trademark for Sum 41." Common sense media gave it four stars out of five, saying "Rugged intensity makes up for the diminished playfulness. Lyrics are clean but somber. You don't like your life, politics, or the world we live in? You might not be able to do much about it, but perhaps -- following the example of Sum 41 -- you can write some interesting, lyrical songs about the stuff that drives you crazy", and also called it "socially conscious punk rock".
Decoy Music said "for the most part, it's obvious the band has grown up. There are some slower songs and some acoustic guitars and some ballads and all that good stuff. But the band still rocks hard 95% of the time and the fact they've gotten heavier actually accentuates their poppyness better than the punk aspect. The songs are still fast and guitar-driven, the drums are still extremely random and manic and awesome -- all in all, this is still a Sum 41 record. But it's just a better one." Stuart Green of exclaim.ca said "Musically the band has never sounded more determined or cohesive (the notable exceptions being the Oasis sound-alike "Some Say” and the power mellower "Slipping Away and Pieces”). Lyrically the album also advances the case for these guys as strong songwriters." Diamond in the Rock said "Although some hail Chuck as a complete departure from the band's enjoyable punk style, this album adds diversity to Sum 41's discography as the hardcore rock vibes lend to an engaging, albeit satisfactorily brief, sound." However, not all reviews were positive. Punknews.org was somewhat disappointed with the album, saying "No one can deny the band's musical talent, and the more serious lyrical themes are a definite improvement, but the lack of consistency kills this album. The highlight of Sum 41's discography is going to come when they fully embrace their metal influences and make a straight-up metal album, and sadly Chuck misses the mark", but also added "If you are still under the impression that Sum 41 is a joke band or a Beastie Boys-wannabe, give some of these songs a try, and you may be pleasantly surprised."