New Found Glory

Every time I accidentally catch the twin brothers who front Good Charlotte hosting MTV2's All Things Rock (which is never more than twice a week, promise) I say a little prayer that when I was 14, Green Day's Kerplunk represented state-of-the-art pop-punk instead of the defanged mall-rock that currently fills the slot. Not that that defanged mall-rock doesn't serve a purpose: The Young and the Hopeless, Good Charlotte's latest, is perfect for stalking the food court on Friday night, and if you're still denying the juvenile genius of blink-182, you've obviously never broken up with anyone via AOL Instant Messenger. But like that first generation of pop geeks who thought Badfinger was just the shit, the 14-year-olds receiving the Coral Springs, Florida, quintet New Found Glory as saviors are sort of getting a raw deal: Sticks and Stones, NFG's third album, is so streamlined and radio-ready it sounds as free of conflict as an O-Town single. Granted, what I got out of Kerplunk wasn't the sense that Billie Joe Armstrong was out there fighting the good fight with Jello Biafra, but it sure was nice to think that he at least knew the guy. Enjoying this stuff without knowing what came before it (and without knowing for sure that they know what came before it) is like skipping dinner for dessert. What fun is that?
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Mikael Wood