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.

Because it did evolve. Maybe the turning song within their repertoire was “We Are The Normal”, a song with lyrics penned by Paul Westerberg from The Replacements, their role model band. The song is included here, of course, and it is the closest to a “hit song” on offer. All the remaining tunes are album tracks, and while most of them are cherished by fans not a single one saw release as an A-side.

Another key aspect of the album: you do get to listen to Robby sing quite a bit. In case you didn’t know, he was the band’s founder and in the beginning he was the one who took care of singing the lead parts. Johnny Rzeznik was to occupy that position full-time eventually, and the two have very marked styles. The way they approach songwriting is also completely removed from one another, with John eliciting some emotions more immediately than Robby and viceversa. Not to mention that Robby’s songs are always more punchy and raucous.

Part 2: analysis of individual songs.

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