Album Review: ‘Greetings from California’ The Madden Brothers, Capitol Records Release Date: Sept. 16, 2014

Madden Brothers AlbumLogo_Greetings_300GRAYBy: SJ Neri

Benji and Joel Madden, twin brothers, and former front men of the very successful band Good Charlotte bring us a new sound…well, sort of. As I listened to their album, Greetings from California, I couldn’t help but think the sound was familiar. Then my daughter proclaimed, “They kind of sound like The Beach Boys”. Ah, of course! Like always with an album review, I listened to the whole album several times. I right away knew the title fit the album perfectly. Having been born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, I have only visited California (I have family there). I do, however, know this album encapsulates the feel and vibe that is always there in Cali…one I confess I do not always possess…optimism. I tried to fight it, but these damn songs just made me feel like maybe this world is not the horrible cesspool that mass media has led me to believe.

As I visited The Madden Brothers website, I learned of the origin of this album, which seemed too perfect. In 2012, while visiting fellow artist Pharrell Williams in Miami , the brothers spoke of wanting to get back to classic rock. This led Williams to make a comparison to The Eagles, which gave the brothers even more inspiration. That night, the brothers wrote California Rain (track 10), which Benji says is “…about the music industry. California is a magical place and we liken it to the dream.” Joel adds, “The song sums up our experience-past, present and future. We still believe in the dream.”

If you are a fan of Pop Rock, you will find songs you enjoy, and even love, on ‘Greetings from California’. Dear Jane, the album’s first track, reminds me of cruising with a group of friends. Up-beat, and fun, you can almost feel sunshine on your face. Track 03, Brixton, is very Beach Boys, in the very best way possible. The song takes you back to carefree days. Track 05, We Are Done, already has an official video. Although this song is smooth, and reassuring (and for some reason makes me want to learn to surf), it is actually about standing up for yourself. “We want to inspire people to speak up” says Benji. The video promotes a message not only of standing up for one’s self, but of tolerance, and acceptance. One of my personal favorite tracks is Track 11, Brother, which boasts some rich vocals, promotes a feeling of unity and heart. The album ends with my other personal favorite, Track 15, Empty Spirits. This song delivers wonderful vocals, background violins, and epic acoustic guitar. ‘Greetings from California’ nails it’s landing, with a perfect 10.

Track List:  

01 Dear Jane (Intro)

02 Dear Jane

03 Brixton

04 Out of My Mind

05 We Are Done

06 U R

07 Jealousy

08 Love Pretenders

09 California Rain (Intro)

10 California Rain

11 Brother

12 Bad

13 Abby

14 Suddenly

15 Empty Spirits

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