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.
The “Dizzy Up The Girl” material in particular works very well, and more than one of its songs could have made it as a single cut to me. I am especially thinking about “All Eyes On Me” and the brittle “Acoustic #3”, one of the songs that were rerecorded for this CD. The other was “Two Days In February”, another acoustic number that broke up the monotony in the otherwise energetic “Hold Me Up”.
Speaking of numbers that are stamina-laden, there is a song near the middle of the disc which is exceptional. It is the one entitled “Eyes Wide Open”. The song not only packs a lot of punch but it also has a lyric that is far, far removed from the romantic fare many people often ground their criticism of the Goo Goo Dolls on. And it has a guitar solo to write home about, too.
I do admit the songs that follow after “Eyes Wide Open” are not as engaging as the ones that made up the first part of the album, although “Girl Right Next To Me” is very catchy and Robby’s “Lucky Star” is a great contribution to the repertoire of the Goo’s, as it is the excellent “Amigone” (also included here – track number 3). And “We Are The Normal” is also part of the second half, so in a certain sense everything evens out.
I am going to tell you something which you might find surprising: this album might be an even better introduction to the Goo Goo Dolls than the “Best Of” package. Let me explain what I mean. “Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce” showcases them as a band on the whole – John and Robby sing, and the late-day material is apprehended differently by placing it in this context. You realize where did it come from. As REM sang, “sweetness follows”. In this case, sweetness follows some days of obvious teenage angst (“Up Yours”, “I’m Addicted”). Believe me, it is nice to have that insight. If you can – and take my word that it is worth it – get the greatest hits and this compilation album together. They paint a picture in all the hues you can imagine. If you want only the golden hues, then go for the “Best Of” album. But if you want the full palette, and an understanding of how what was somehow obscure eventually became more glowing, and how this Buffalo band “let love in”, this is where it’s at.
Would I recommend purchase of this compilation: Yes
Do I feel like digging deeper into their catalog after listening to it: Yes