Sound — 8
The sound on this album is very good. Production wise, its much better than their older stuff. Tyath was almost ruined by its horrible production and mixing - the guitars were mixed too low and the vocals were mixed too high, creating a really bad sound that wasn't crisp or tight sounding. This CD is the opposite. The guitars sound crisp, the drums sound tight, the bass sounds great, the vocals aren't as high pithced, everything's better. The musicianship isn't really as simple as it was on their previous stuff either. While its still nothing extremely difficult, some riffs and solos are slightly difficult to play (like SOS). The drums are much better, and the fills sound awesome. The band also used alot of pianos, strings, synth, and alot more which ends up adding to the sound. If you were a fan of their older stuff, you'll still probably like this. Songs like "The Chronicles Of Life And Death", "Secrets", "Mountain", and "Falling Away" don't stray far from the band's older pop-punk sound. But even if you HATED GC before, you'll still probably love this album. Theres the hard rock sound of "Walk Away", the disco/dance/rock/pop/rap sound of "I Just Wanna Live", some Muse influences in "Ghost Of You", and a heavy Nirvana influenced track called "In This World". Basically, theres something for everybody.
Lyrics — 8
Angsty, personal, clever, easy to relate to. Lines like "Money talks/In this world/Thats what idiots will say/But you'll find out/That this world/Is just an idiot's parade" and are pretty funny, and then theres more serious lines like "We are all the same/Human in all our ways and all our pain" and "Turn on channel 7 at a quarter to 8/You see the same damn thing its just a different day/and, I can't live while this world just keeps dying". All the topics on this album are easy to understand because their mostly about the world we live in today. Theres also a couple of good emo songs on here, like "Mountain": "Was it on a mountain?/When it came, when it came, to me/That all my life's been wasted/Chasing shallow dreams". Basically everything is less shallow than it was on Tyath, but it still keeps the humorous and relatable qualities.
Overall Impression — 8
Personally I think this album is a huge step up for the band. People are obviously going to see growing pains on this album, but if you don't look for them, you won't hear them. If you just forget all the before-hand thoughts about Good Charlotte and try to enjoy this album for what is well, you probably will then.