Intended as a song of forgiveness, “Emotionless” is Joel and Benji Madden’s letter to their father, who abandoned the family. Misplaced priorities and dating games cause “Boys and Girls” to “los[e] their souls in a material world.” The singer urges a hurting friend to “Hold On.” Elsewhere he thanks someone for being trustworthy (“Wondering”) and cautions listeners to avoid self-destructive behavior (“The Story of My Old Man”).
A brutal crime of passion takes the fore on “My Bloody Valentine” when a jilted boyfriend stalks his girl’s new flame and rips out his throat. “The Anthem” belittles education (calling high school a “jail cell”) and ambition (no need for a “real job”), deciding, “I’m gonna get by and just do my time.” It’s easy to interpret “The Day That I Die” as a pro-suicide song. “Riot Girl” sings the praises of a heavily tattooed, pierced rebel full of hate (not exactly the Proverbs 31 woman). Shaped by pain, a young man gives in to bitter hopelessness on the title track. “Movin’ On” mistakenly states that, after death, “everybody goes to a better place.”
This four-man band, fronted by the Madden twins, makes valid points about friendship, forgiveness and the consequences of poor choices. But there’s also a distinctively dark side. Referring to “My Bloody Valentine,” Benji told MTV that it’s “the song that most accurately captures the band’s current mind frame.” Worth avoiding.