By James Baase
One always hopes that after over two decades of creating music, a band you’ve enjoyed all along would keep it up and not run out of talent. Or even worse, re-invent themselves into something their fans can’t relate to. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the trio from Buffalo, NY known as the Goo Goo Dolls are still doing what they do best…and seemingly getting better at it.
Upon listening to Magnetic, the 10th Studio album from the Goo Goo Dolls, you will find that what they do is deliver a collection of catchy but like-able, melodic, pop-rock songs that leave you toe-tapping right into the next song.
Upon first hearing the opening track I went from “Hey I know these guys” to “What the…wait a minute…I like this!” when the song takes a surprisingly sharp turn at the chorus. “Rebel Beat” is definitely a refreshing departure from typical Goo Goo songs, and its up-beat, radio-friendly, positive attitude sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Lead singer Johnny Rzeznik wanted to take a different approach when faced with the daunting task of writing a new album back in 2011. He wanted to get right to business and not wait another four years before releasing the next album. So, to lighten the burden and, in his words, “have some fun making a record for once in my life” he decided to collaborate on writing with several others that helped produce Magnetic.
What came from that collaboration is a fun collection of songs that holds true to that mission. Most of the songs have driving beats that are superbly upheld by Robby Takac on bass and Mike Malinin on drums. Most notably in ”When the World Breaks Your Heart” and “Last Hot Night”.
In addition to the rhythm section, there is much more to these songs that makes them so good. There is a depth to each song in that they build up to the chorus and instead of easing back and repeating the same, there is more added as the song progresses. The anthemic “More of You” just keeps building and I love the complimentary horns at the end. “Slow It Down” is pure Goo and even has an appearance by a mandolin. All the aforementioned qualities are evident in the best track on the CD “Caught in the Storm”, which is driving home a message in the line “I’m tired of sleeping, sleeping through my own life”. Obviously, Johnny is in a better state of mind than when he wrote their last album, Something for the Rest of Us.
Even Robby’s two songs, the rocker “Bringing on the Light” and the acoustic “Happiest of Days” call out to a lighter, more hopeful tone. Rzeznik intentionally limited himself to two ballads on this CD which are thoughtfully written and inspired by his fiance’, whom he will marry after this summer’s tour. “Come to Me” just may very well be another wedding song.
I’m going to go ahead and say that I think this may be the Goo Goo Dolls’ most cohesive album yet. There are some new approaches, but overall it still has what we love about this band…a well-produced bunch of songs that happens to have a positive force which keeps drawing you back for repeated listening.
- Rebel Beat
- When the World Breaks Your Heart
- Slow It Down
- Caught in the Storm
- Come to Me
- Bringing on the Light
- More of You
- Bullet Proof Angel
- Last Hot Night
- Happiest of Days
- Keep the Car Running