STANDOUT TRACK: The prereleased “Keep Your Hands Off My Girl,” a throbbing pop-rock number in which the Waldorf, Md., natives report from the front lines of clubland. Vocalist Joel Madden, who recently has been DJing around Los Angeles, half sings/half raps about female fashion victims (“You carry Dior bags, and you got your Chanel”) and their uptight, alpha-male companions (“And now the boyfriend is staring/The disco ball on the ceiling/Looks like the chain that I’m wearing”).

MUSICAL MOTIVATION: Madden swears that despite its title, the song has nothing to do with his girlfriend, singer/actress Hilary Duff. E-mailing from the band’s short fall tour, he says that it’s merely a “fun stab at the way people treat me when I go to clubs”—especially those where a pop-punker is out of place among fashionistas or music snobs. But while the lyrics mock the club scene, the music embraces it. The amped-up beat, the synth touches, and the high-pitched “ah-has” during the chorus put Good Charlotte further into ’80s territory than ever before.

“It’s not to be taken too seriously at all,” Madden says. “Of course people will read way too far into it.”

HI MOM: Madden says much of his life now happens on the West Coast and in New York, helping brother/guitarist Benji run their production team the Dead Executives and working with Duff and other musicians. But he still ditches Hollywood for Waldorf every couple of months. “I’m proud of where I’m from. I always talk about Maryland and D.C.,” he says. “I have the Maryland flag tattooed on my whole back.” —Joe Warminsky