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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Good Charlotte gets their hands on rap-rock

Published: September 7, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

In their new single Keep Your Hands off my Girl the punk rock band Good Charlotte makes a few very simple statements. They get fly, they cant stand how girls sweat them, they keep their 26 year old model[s] under control, and if one isnt careful theyre quite prone to stealing ones girlfriend.

Now this very cocky, and very stylized form of womanizing is customary in the music of Jay-Z, the late greats Biggie and Tupac, and even conscious artists like Nas, among others. However, hearing this from a punk rock band is a bit weirdand I love it.

This is not to say that rap and rock have not crossed paths in the past. Ever since Run DMC came on the scene with Rock Box, rap-rock crossovers have become more and more popular.

The spirit of this rap-rock meshing finds its modern avatar in artists like Linkin Park, Kid Rock (remember him), and the band Limp Bizkit. Rap-rock is a crucial association to make in this case.

To my knowledge, the majority of rap-rock crossovers were always inclined to the former, rap. That is, whenever artists mixed the two forms of music it was always a rap songs lyrics set to rock and roll such as the “Iron Man” remix by Ozzy Osbourne, featuring Busta Rhymes (No, Im not making this up).

The structure of the rock lyrics did not maintain their integrity as they were either sped up to match the cadence of rhythm and poetry (r.a.p. = rap) or only a snippet of rock lyrics were used as the chorus of the song.

Good Charlotte however has made a complete turn around in this trend. Their new single Keep Your Hands Off My Girl is a rock-and-roll song through and through. Yet it contains the slang of, the content inherent to, and the spirit of a rap song. This is Rock-rap.

In their new single, Good Charlotte sings, “Step out the wagon,/ You know the boy starts to hate,/ The girl that came with him,/ They say 'that's not the boy she dates',/ They get to fighting and swearing,/ And now the boyfriend is staring,/ The disco ball on the ceiling,/ Looks like the chain that I'm wearing.”

These lyrics from “Keep Your Hands Off My Girl” could easily be mistaken for the lyrics of any hit song played every ten minutes on the hip-hop and R&B radio station Jam'n 94.5. They mention a station wagon, haters, girls who are held down by haters, and of course “bling” in the form of an iced-out disco ball-colored chain.

Affiliation with long-time acquaintance Pharrell Williams has no doubt left an indelible mark on band members and brothers Benji and Joel Madden. Listening to the first verse of the song, we hear commentary on various ridiculously expensive brands, culminating with the notoriously flamboyant Bathing Ape apparel company, co-owned and heavily endorsed by Pharrell.

Artistically Im really feeling this song. The snare and the bass are awesome. The lyrics are catchy as hell and even a die-hard gangster rap fan, after giving this song a chance, will find him or herself at least somewhat impressed by the bold statements and overall feel of the song.

As for the video, its not for everyone. I personally like it. Its kind of artsy. The premise is simple just like the song. We watch the band play as we periodically zoom in on particular parts of their outfits.

Towards the end it even has a Phil Collins In the Air Tonight thing going on with close-ups of the lead singer's face. (I know I may not have too many Phil Collins fans out there, but if youre reading this just “Youtube” both videos and watch them to the end and youll see what Im saying).

Overall I think that this was a fresh bold move for Good Charlotte and like all fresh bold moves this one is bound to start a trend. Maybe the remix of 50 Cent's I Get Money will feature Bono. Hey, you never know.