Gutterflower (The Goo Goo Dolls) – Album Review

Gutterflower's Front Cover

Gutterflower's Front Cover

“Gutterflower” was to be the first album the Goo Goo Dolls released after the acclaimed “Dizzy Up The Girl”, the CD that gave us “Iris” and “Slide”. This time around the tone is much starker because John Rzeznik was going through a divorce, and broken sentiments surface at every turn. Leaving aside these songs about disillusionment and loyalty lost, there are two songs that describe the way he felt when moving from Buffalo to LA. They are the single “Big Machine” and “What A Scene”.

The other singles were to include “Here Is Gone”, the closest to the hit formula they had established in the previous record, and “Sympathy”. “Sympathy” is one of the few all-acoustic songs that they were to release as a single, and it is equally enticing on the album as it is when listened to on its own. The song treats disenchantment like the remaining tunes within the album, wondering in which measure the failure of a relationship is down to each person. The conclusion seems to be that both are equally to blame, yet they are incapable of admitting it. Nietzsche used to say that the one who loves the most is the most damaging person since he or she tends to request impossible thing from his/her loved one at every turn. And the majority of songs on offer here (“Think About Me”, “What Do You Want”, “Truth Is A Whisper”) do nothing but bring that to mind time and again.

On the other hand, Robby offers up 4 songs. They mostly reinforce the overall mood of the album (“You Never Know”), yet he also contributes the uplifting “Up, Up, Up” and “Smash”. But on the whole, the album feels like Johnny’s show. Robby songs are also shorter, and it is John the one who closes the album with “Truth Is A Whisper”. Continue reading

Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce (The Goo Goo Dolls) – Compilation Album (Part 2)

For a general introduction to this compilation album go here.

The CD has 22 songs. I feel it is interesting to provide you with the track list, along with the album that each song was originally found in.

Bullet Proof              (Dizzy Up The Girl)
All Eyes on Me         (Dizzy Up The Girl)
Amigone                      (Dizzy Up The Girl)
Acoustic #3             (Dizzy Up The Girl)
Naked                           (A Boy Named Goo)
Ain’t That Unusual        (A Boy Named Goo)
Burnin’ Up                (A Boy Named Goo)
Flat Top                  (A Boy Named Goo)
Eyes Wide Open        (A Boy Named Goo)
Fallin’ Down            (Superstar Car Wash)
Another Second Time Around   (Superstar Car Wash)
Cuz You’re Gone        (Superstar Car Wash)
We Are the Normal        (Superstar Car Wash)
Girl Right Next to Me        (Superstar Car Wash)
Lucky Star            (Superstar Car Wash)
On the Lie            (Superstar Car Wash)
Just the Way You Are        (Hold Me Up)
Two Days in February    (Hold Me Up)
Laughing                      (Hold Me Up)
There You Are            (Hold Me Up)
Up Yours                              (Jed)
I’m Addicted            (Goo Goo Dolls)

As you have just noticed, there is only a song apiece from their earliest releases. That is something that (from what I have heard so far) is hard to object to, especially if you climbed aboard the Goo’s train around the time of “Iris”. These songs are mere curiosities and little else.

The albums that are better-represented are the ones whose sound will win you over like “Name”, “Slide” or “Iris” did, and these songs roughly make up half the CD. Continue reading

Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce (The Goo Goo Dolls) – Compilation Album (Part 1)

(What I Learned About) Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce

(What I Learned About) Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce

You already know how enthusiastically I listen to the Goo Goo Dolls. Maybe such a prolonged keenness was the result of buying this compilation right after having purchased their “Greatest Hits Vol. 1” CD. You see, “(What I Learned About) Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce” delves into their studio albums one by one and offers up the best songs from each one of these CDs. In many cases, alternate mixes and/or entirely rerecorded versions are featured.

What I like best about this compilation is the way it is structured. The six albums that are featured are “Goo Goo Dolls”, “Jed”, “Hold Me Up”, “Superstar Car Wash”, “A Boy Named Goo” and “Dizzy Up The Girl”. The tracks on the CD run from back to front. That is, rather than starting with the songs from the self-titled debut and taking you chronologically to the songs included in “Dizzy Up The Girl” the CD starts with the “Dizzy Up The Girl” material and goes all the way back to “Goo Goo Dolls”. You might think that such a thing is not a big deal, but I assure you it is. Think about it, many people are familiar with the more mature sound of the Goo Goo Dolls. Arranging the songs like this lets anybody trace the way that such a sound evolved. Continue reading

Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (The Goo Goo Dolls) – Compilation Album

The Cover Of The Compliation

The Cover Of The Compliation

If you have already gone through the general introduction I penned yesterday, you know I bought this CD more or less accidentally and how it hit me like nothing else the moment it started playing.

This compilation focuses on the Goo Goo Dolls’ commercial peak, heralded by the smash song “Iris” from the movie “City Of Angels” and the album “Dizzy Up The Girl” up to the song “Before It’s Too Late” from Michael Bay’s debatable big-screen adaptation of the classic 80s’ show “Transformers”. Three albums are covered: “Dizzy Up The Girl”, “Gutterflower” and “Let Love In”. These are albums that more or less follow the pattern set down by a song that was originally featured on the album called “A Boy Named Goo” (1995), and which was entitled “Name”. It was their first successful excursion into a territory much mellower than what many fans were accustomed to, and it signaled the commencement of their surge in popularity. That song has been re-recorded for inclusion on this compilation. There is not really that much of a departure – the role the acoustic guitar plays out is the only noticeable difference between the old and the new version of “Name”. Continue reading

The Goo Goo Dolls – General Introduction

Left To Right: Robby Takac, John Rzeznik & Mike Malinin

Left To Right: Robby Takac, John Rzeznik & Mike Malinin

One of my greatest projects is the eventual realization of a mini-series revolving around the lives of five friends who are in a band together, and who enter a music contest. The viewer gets to see them as they learn what matters in life through music, and I have spent a truly inordinate amount of time working the soundtrack out to the point that music has become the true protagonist of the series.

One day, I caught a song called “Sympathy” on the radio. I liked it and downloaded it. The song became part of the soundtrack I assembled. And I have a rule: if I ever come across a CD containing any of the songs I have included in that soundtrack, I buy the album immediately. When I was shopping one day, I spotted the Goo Goo Dolls “Greatest Hits” CD and I purchased it. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a rule is a rule. Continue reading