Three years ago, a Good Charlotte/Simple Plan double bill might have sent legions of TRL watchers into fainting fits or ecstatic paroxysms. Back then, the two pop-punk bands were the kings of the Wet Seal-browsing contingent.
The wacky Canucks in Simple Plan earned screams for being the musical equivalent of its fans' Livejournals, thanks to screeds about how mean parents are and how tough it is being a kid. Meanwhile, Good Charlotte became the patron saints of 'tweens because of its cuddly, non-threatening iterations of vintage punk, driven by slick riffs and the sleepy bulldoglike mugs of the Madden brothers.
Today, the groups still receive a solid amount of video play, but their fans don't necessarily watch religiously anymore. Still Not Getting Any . . . , Simple Plan's sophomore disc, merely tweaks its existing, revved-up anthems. And GC's attempts to mature its sound on its latest, The Chronicles of Life and Death, have drawn mixed reactions and polarized fans. Which is a fair response: For every excellent experiment like the new-wave-style "Ghost of You," there's a stinker like "I Just Wanna Live" -- a horribly misguided facsimile of a boy-band product.