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Clash of the Mallpunk Titans

Few things are sadder than aging punk rockers attempting to cash in on their misspent youth, especially their desperate act of trying to recapture the glory days of fickle preadolescents with disposable incomes.

Such is the lot of Good Charlotte and Simple Plan, purveyors of a Splenda version of pop-punk so lightweight that only Top 40 radio will touch it. Not that the bands resemble glossy pop stars, per se: GC’s members look like thugged-out suburbanites who overdosed at the tattoo parlor, and the Plansters are the mischievous skater kids hellbent on crashing keggers thrown by the football jocks.

Good Charlotte’s latest disc, The Chronicles of Life and Death, has drawn more sniffs of disdain than usual from the tween demographic, even though – or maybe because – VH1 still plugs GC’s videos into heavy rotation and the band sounds less generic. Simple Plan, by contrast, seems to be building on its nasal-rock momentum with Still Not Getting Any…, which merely perfects the Canadians’ benign imitation of rowdy Fat Wreck Chords.

Here’s how the two stack up.The Basics

Simple Plan: Montreal, five members

Good Charlotte: Washington, D.C., area, five members

Modus Operandi

GC: Shares the pain of outsiders everywhere through the spirit of slick punk ditties.

SP: Perfects the art of Livejournal rock by relating to “the kids” via melodramatic ballads.

Self-Avowed Favorites Not Heard Anywhere in Their Music

GC: Morrissey, Muse

SP: Elvis Costello, Bad Religion

R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” Ripped Off

GC: Lyrical sentiments of “Hold On” (Hold on if you feel like letting go/Hold on it gets better than you know).

SP: People abandon their cars midtraffic jam in its “Welcome to My Life” video.

Hollywood Cred

GC: Joel Madden’s underage, way-out-of-his-league girlfriend, Hilary Duff.

SP: Appears in the morals-free flick The Real Cancun and on The Apprentice.

Attempt at Maturation

GC: Uses a sweeping, pretentious children’s choir to start Chronicles.

SP: Makes a somber anti-drunk-driving video for the upcoming single “Untitled.”

Juvenile Antics

GC: Madden reportedly declined to sign an autograph for Lindsay Lohan’s little brother, Duff’s mortal enemy.

SP: The phrase “Still Not Getting Any” is a humorous double-entendre only to 13-year-olds.

Unfortunate Career Move

GC: Sports Fruit of the Loom-commercial-style food costumes in its “I Just Wanna Live” video.

SP: Tours with Good Charlotte.

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