For their fifth album, pop-punk fivesome Good Charlotte are going back to their roots. "The only thing I can hear when I listen to this record is our first two albums," says frontman Joel Madden. "It's got that same energy."
He attributes the vibe to the band's recent hiatus — after releasing Good Morning Revival in 2007, when the band took a year off from touring and recording. "For the first time since we started the band in 1996, we got to get away," says Madden, who devoted the break to his family — girlfriend Nicole Richie and their two kids, Harlow, who's almost two, and Sparrow, who was born last month. (Conversely, Joel's twin, guitarist Benji Madden, spent the time off navigating his way through "a tornado path of relationships.")
When the band regrouped in Los Angeles to begin cutting Cardiology — so titled because it deals with "matters of the heart" — "we were reinvigorated," says Madden. "We were so excited to be back, and I think you can hear that on the record."
The group — who teamed up with producer Howard Benson — ditched the dancier sound on their last LP in favor of straightforward rockers about searching for one's identity ("Right Where I Belong") and the loneliness of being on the road ("First Plane Home"). "When I write lyrics, it seems to come back to how I feel about my family," says Madden. "Benji's songs are catchier and a bit more fun."
Cardiology drops next spring; until then, the band is paring down the nearly 100 songs they penned for the album. "It's been a frustrating process because we're in a weird spot Â the kids who were listening to us when they were 14 are now 24," says Madden. "We have to give them a reason to still like the band."