The Chronicles of Life and Death

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The Chronicles of Life and Death
The Chronicles of Life and Death.png
Studio album by Good Charlotte
ReleasedOctober 5, 2004 (2004-10-05)
RecordedMarch–June 2004
StudioBarefoot Studios, Hollywood, California
GenrePop punk, alternative rock
Length51:26
LabelEpic, Daylight
ProducerEric Valentine
Good Charlotte chronology
The Young and the Hopeless
(2002)
The Chronicles of Life and Death
(2004)
Good Morning Revival
(2007)
Singles from The Chronicles of Life and Death
  1. "Predictable"
    Released: September 27, 2004
  2. "I Just Wanna Live"
    Released: January 17, 2005
  3. "The Chronicles of Life and Death"
    Released: June 3, 2005
  4. "We Believe"
    Released: August 15, 2005

The Chronicles of Life and Death is the third studio album by American pop punk band Good Charlotte, released through Epic and Daylight Records on October 5, 2004. The album was released with two different versions: a "Life" and a "Death" version which came with different cover art (designed by guitarist Billy Martin) and a special bonus track. There is also a Japanese version that has a different cover art as well as the special bonus tracks from both the "Life" and "Death" versions, including the hidden track "Wounded" at the end of the album. The Chronicles of Life and Death is the only album to feature Chris Wilson on drums.

Background[edit]

Good Charlotte released their second album, The Young and the Hopeless, in October 2002.[1] Three of the album's singles, "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous", "Girls & Boys", and "The Anthem", shifted the group from modern rock to mainstream top 40 radio. As a result, The Young and the Hopeless debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, selling 117,000 copies in its first week. It eventually went on to sell over 3 million copies in the US.[2] Following its release, the group embarked on two US arena tours.[3][4] In August 2003, the group began stockpiling songs for their next album. They planned to write more while on tour[5] between September and November.[4]

Recording and composition[edit]

Recording took place at Barefoot Studios in Hollywood California, with producer and engineer Eric Valentine assisted by Trevor Whatever and Chris Roach.[6] Sessions began in March[7] and concluded in June.[8] Matt Radosevich did editing, programming, additional engineering and performed piano on "The Truth". Strings were conducted by David Campbell and arranged by him and Valentine. Michele Ito and Chikako Horii sung on "Once Upon a Time: The Battle of Life and Death". John Feldmann tracked additional guitars for "I Just Wanna Live". Valentine mixed and mastered the recordings, except for "Meet My Maker", which was mixed by Jacquire King with assistance from Andy Hunt.[6]

The group initially entered the studio with 16–18 songs.[8] Joel Madden said the album was a "a diary of the past two years",[9] and that hope was a running theme throughout it.[10] Musically, the album has been classified as pop punk,[11] with elements of British punk rock, arena rock[2] and goth rock.[12] Piano and string instruments appear throughout the album.[9] The opener track "Once Upon a Time: The Battle of Life and Death" is an instrumental opener with strings and a Japanese choir.[9] The track, along with the ending of In This World (Murder)", represents the cycle of life and death.[13] "Predictable" starts off with strings before shifting into a spoken-word rant by Madden. "Walk Away (Maybe)" fuses hard rock-edged verses with indie rock-esque strumming patterns.[10] Madden said "We Believe" sounded like a track that could be sung by Elton John or Billy Joel. He said he wrote it while watching CNN and that he was singing about things what were happening in the world.[14]

Release[edit]

In June, the group performed at a few shows on the Warped Tour[15] and headlined Edgefest.[16] On August 9 and 10, the group filmed a video for "Predictable" in Toronto, Canada. Martin said the video shows two sides of the group: "There's a dark, twisted room where we're playing in, where it's thunderstorming... [and then] Joel [Madden] goes outside and the sky is perfectly clear and it's like a nice neighborhood".[17] "Predictable" was released to radio on August 24.[18] At the end of the month, the group performed at a few more shows on the Warped Tour.[15] A behind-the-scenes making-of video for "Predictable" premiered in early September.[17] "Predictable" was released as a CD single in Australia on September 27 with an acoustic version of "The Chronicles of Life and Death", and live versions of "The Anthem" and "Hold On" recorded at Abbey Road Studios as B-sides.[19]

The Chronicles of Life and Death was made available for streaming on October 1 through MTV's The Leak.[20] Initially planned for release in September,[21] The Chronicles of Life and Death was released on October 5 through Epic and Daylight Records.[22] It was released in two different editions: Life (with "Falling Away" as a bonus track) and Death (with "Meet My Maker" as a bonus track), both with different artwork created by Martin. The art for the Life version resembles a first-edition book, while the art for the Death version resembles a 100-year-old book. The album booklet is done in the style of a storybook with the song lyrics detailing a story accompanied by illustrations.[23] The group debuted material from the album during a show in New York. Alkaline Trio drummer Derek Grant temporarily substituted for drummer Chris Wilson during the show as Wilson was reportedly receiving therapy. Grant subsequently played with the group for a few more promotional events,[24] which included an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and in-store performances.[25]

In October and November, the group went on a co-headlining US tour with Sum 41.[23] They were supported by Lola Ray and Hazen Street.[26] "I Just Wanna Live" was released as a CD single in Australia on January 17, 2005, with live versions of "S.O.S." and "The World Is Black" as B-sides.[27] The song's music video, directed by Brett Simon, features the group performing in a dive bar before the members return to their day jobs. Eventually, someone from the music industry signs the band, known as the Food Group, who are dressed as an array of food items.[28] In February 2005, the band appeared at MTV Asia's tsunami-relief event for the tsunami in Southeast Asia,[29] before touring Australia.[30] The group embarked on a tour of Europe and the UK[31] in March with support from The Explosion.[32] In early April, a music video was filmed for "We Believe" with director Sam Erickson[33] at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The video features the group performing in an abandoned theatre overlapped with war imagery and people suffering.[34]

In May and June, the group went on a co-headlining US tour with Simple Plan,[31] dubbed the Noise to the World tour.[24] They were supported by Relient K.[31] A few dates into the tour, Wilson left the group citing to health concerns. He was replaced by Dean Butterworth.[24] The group met him through John Feldmann of Goldfinger.[35] "The Chronicles of Life and Death" was released as a CD single in Australia on June 3 with live versions of "The Chronicles of Life and Death" and "Mountain", and a remix of "I Just Wanna Live" as B-sides.[36] "We Believe" was released as a single on August 15.[37] In October, the band appeared at the Bridge School Benefit.[38] On November 13, the album was released on the DualDisc format. It included a making-of documentary and live performances.[39]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic53/100[40]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[41]
BillboardFavorable [42]
E! OnlineB [43]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[44]
IGN2/10 [45]
The Guardian2/5 stars [46]
The New York TimesUnfavorable [47]
Rolling Stone2/5 stars[48]
Stylus MagazineB−[49]
The Village VoiceC+[50]

Critical response[edit]

The album has received generally mixed reviews. At Metacritic, the album gained a 53 out of 100 based on 16 reviews.[40] Billboard said "The band takes its proven peppy rock sound to new heights."[42] E! Online also gave it a positive review, saying "Pulling off the tricky balancing act of aiming for mainstream success while keeping one's street cred intact, songs like 'Ghost of You' and 'Predictable' abandon the band's mall-rat roots in exchange for more mature influences like U2 and Muse."[43] The New York Times gave a negative review, saying that the album was "full of ham-fisted ideas."[47] Entertainment Weekly called the album "A giant leap forward--in instrumental prowess, and in emotional and melodic scope."[44]

NME also gave a negative review, saying "Half the time, Good Charlotte sound like Blink-182 after the snip, the other half they sound like the Backstreet Boys without the songs."[40] Sputnikmusic gave the album a 3.5 out of 5, saying "'The Chronicles Of Life And Death' stands as a testament to a mediocre pop quartet that went the extra mile to be sincere and produce an authentic, respectable piece of work." Q said "It's nothing if not ambitious... [but] they simply don't have the depth, or the authority, to pull it off."[40] The Village Voice gave the album a C+, saying "Beyond some rich-and-famous irony, not a single suburban detail soils an hour of good intentions. And you know the music overreaches too."[50]

Commercial performance and legacy[edit]

The album was a decent commercial success, with the singles "I Just Wanna Live" and "Predictable" peaking decently on the charts. By February 2007, it had sold 1.1 million copies in the US.[51] In 2016, Benji Madden said of the album: "We were showing our depth. We didn’t want any rules, we didn’t want any boundaries… We wanted to do the things that we wanted to do."[52]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Benji and Joel Madden, except where noted.[53]

No.TitleLength
1."Once Upon a Time: The Battle of Life and Death" (B. Madden, Eric Valentine)2:24
2."The Chronicles of Life and Death"3:03
3."Walk Away (Maybe)"3:20
4."S.O.S."3:42
5."I Just Wanna Live" (B. Madden, J. Madden, John Feldmann)2:46
6."Ghost of You" (B. Madden, J. Madden, Billy Martin)4:50
7."Predictable"3:11
8."Secrets"3:53
9."The Truth" (B. Madden, J. Madden, Feldmann)3:56
10."The World Is Black"3:06
11."Mountain" (B. Madden, J. Madden, Martin)4:33
12."We Believe"3:51
13."It Wasn't Enough" (B. Madden, J. Madden, Feldmann)3:24
14."In This World (Murder)" (30 seconds of silence at end of track)5:27
Total length:51:26

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per booklet.[6]

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

Citations

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  2. ^ a b Whitmire 2004, p. 13
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Sources

External links[edit]