Goo Goo Dolls: Something for the Rest of Us


RIYL: Bryan Adams, The Plimsouls, Richard Marx

61luGSOu-WL._SCLZZZZZZZ_[1] The Goo Goo Dolls have, at this point, been an adult contemporary recording act longer than they were Buffalo’s answer to the Replacements, so the time has probably come to stop using each new album as an excuse to whine about how much cooler they used to be, and lament what might have been if only Superstar Car Wash had been a hit. At this point, everybody knows exactly what they’re going to get from a Goos record, and if you’re looking to the fellows who brought you “Iris” for hungover blue-collar rock, well…that’s your problem, not theirs.

What we have with Something for the Rest of Us, then, is what sounds like – please, Lord, let it be – the final step in the Goos’ decade-long sanding down of their old sound. They’ve been inching this direction since they released Dizzy Up the Girl in 1998; 2002’s Gutterflower and 2006’s Let Love In were each slightly slicker, duller versions of what came before them, and Something out-slicks and out-snoozes them all. According to John Rzeznik, the more tuneful Goo with the Bon Jovi pout, the songs on this album are supposed to address the trying times we’re living in, but if there’s any topicality here, it’s so buried in snuggly layers of radio-ready gloss that it hardly matters.

When it comes to the Goo Goo Dolls, all that matters anymore is the ratio of sweeping Rzeznik power ballads (ten) to slightly punkier, slightly snottier Robby Takac rockers (two), and how soothing/vaguely dramatic it’ll sound in your car while you’re driving home from a long day of answering phones or filling out spreadsheets (very). There isn’t a line, chord, or cymbal crash that will change your life, or hit you anywhere but the soft, nougaty part of your cerebral cortex where you hide your secret affection for Lifehouse and Three Doors Down. It’s a very boring album, in other words, but who needs excitement? Excitement is messy, and it doesn’t have Rzeznik’s artfully tousled hair. (Warner Bros. 2010)

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