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Something For the Goobers

  • Jul 10, 2011
It's been since 2006's "Let Love in" since the Goo Goo Dolls have released a studio album.  But August 28, 2010 saw he release of the Buffalo-Based power-pop trio's 9th album, "Something for the Rest of Us."  By far their most heavily produced album to date, "Something for the Rest of Us," has fingerprints on it from a variety of producers including Butch Vig (made famous for his work on Nirvana's  "Nevermind") and Rob Cavallo (who worked on several other Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day albums).  It is much improved from "Let Love In"'s tepid, muddy and overly reverbed vibe.  Recording took place in several Los Angeles recording studios as well as their home studio in Buffalo.

When asked about the length of time between albums, Guitarist and front-man John Rzeznik cited creative and personal reasons saying: "I wanted to really dig deep and there are a million songs I threw away, like, Nah, it's not good enough. I wanna do something different. I wanna do something better, go deeper. I also wanted to have a life with my girlfriend for a while. I owed it to her to spend some time with her and be normal and be in one place. That was kind of important."  However since 1998's "Dizzy Up the Girl," there's never been a a break of any less than four years between albums.  It just seem to me to be the way they like to pace themselves rather than spit out a crappy album every year like so many other acts.  However with their side projects writing the movie themes to Transformers and Transformers 3, I'm confident that if they wanted to release albums more frequently, they would be fine.

The album opens with the braying rock track "Sweetest Lie."  It's very thematic and it exploits a certain asymmetry for emphasis within the skeleton of a usual Goo Goo Dolls driving rock song.  The first chorus's lyrics stand alone leading into the second verse which is more a variation of the first verse with strummed chords over a driving bass, really bringing out the lyrics, "You make me feel electric..."  The second track is the slightly sedate, "As I am," sounding as if Vertical Horizon decided to cover any given song off of "Dizzy Up the Girl."  Next "Home," is the first stand out single which I heard played like every day on TV when the Flyers were at the playoffs.  It starts out with these piano octaves that reminded me of the opening theme to Gremlins 2.  As in "Sweetest Lie," Rzeznik uses a variation of the guitar in the first verse to make the lyrics stand out, which is intended to point to the outro where the second verse lyrics are howled over what should be a coda.  Next we come to "Notbroken," the most epic Goo Goo Dolls song since "Iris."  It tells the story of a soldier's wife pleading for him to come home.  Honestly, it's a complete tear-jerker and probably their best work on the album.  I am not going to deconstruct this song further as it would be incredibly long.  Next is the track "One Night."  This love ballad is a total throwback to "Let Love in" with it's middle pace and layered reverbyness.  "Nothing is Real" comes next.  Now I tend to break down all Goo Goo Dolls albums into Johnny's songs and Robby's songs.  I almost always prefer Johnny's songs but this is his weakest one in the album.  Speaking of Robby's songs, "Now I Hear," one of two Robby Takac songs is next.  It seems to me to be a simplified Third Eye Blind song.  It does seem that nowadays Robby's songs are the only ones that get something resembling a real a guitar solo.  If you look on the credits you'll see that John Rzeznik has added piano to his list of talents and in "Still Your Song," we hear that.  This lovelorn ballad mixes electric guitars with piano and symphonic strings.  Rhythmically this sounds like a Loki song with some differences in structure.  The titled track, "Something for the Rest of Us," makes me feel like I should be slow dancing to it.  It's what I imagine Coldplay would sound like if they wrote a wintery love song with a Bush sounding bridge.  "Say You're Free" is the other Robby song.  This is a much more typical post-"Boy Named Goo" song for the Goo Goo Dolls Bassist.  When "Hey Ya" begins next I go into it not really knowing what's going on.  We have a sort of free flowing syncopation in the guitar with an ethereal male voice moaning in the background.  But soon after the lead vocals come in we get a sense of following up "Let Love in"'s hit single "Better Days" without the piano and maybe a touch of Blink 182's "All the Small Things."  The final track is titled "Soldier."  It opens by hitting you in the face with a piano.  Ominous tones lead into a poppy chorus that sounds like the bridge of Matchbox20's  "Real World" with cool transition into the second verse.  The bridge leaps out of key much like the bridge to "Home," however this seems less out of place and much more smoothly transitions into the coda.

To me Goo Goo Dolls albums tend to work like Star Trek movies:  Any Trekker will tell you that the even numbers are good but the odd numbers are a crap shoot.  Such is with the Goo Goo Dolls in their own way.  Following the release of a lighter album it's always followed up by a heavier one.  John Rzeznik's vocals stand out as the band's ace-in-the-hole, making no claims to guitar with any special virtuosity.  "Dizzy Up the Girl" I felt really made me appreciate Mike Malinin's drumming and "Something For the Rest of Us," really did the same for Robby Takac's bass-lines.  For what he lacked in his two featured songs, the bassist really delivered like never before.  The Goo Goo Dolls have definitely come a long way from being considered "the poor man's Replacements."
Something For the Goobers Something For the Goobers

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July 10, 2011
I get the feeling the Dolls have squandered most of their goodwill around Buffalo.They moved from straight guitar rock to adult contemporary territory suspiciously quickly.
July 11, 2011
I don't think it's that suspicious. For years they did guitar rock to rave reviews but had jack for actual success. The more adult contemporary they got, the more successful they became.
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Rob Roznik ()
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Written and recorded over the past couple of years, 'Something For The Rest Of Us' delivers another dose of great Goo songs such as 'Sweetest Lie,' 'One Night,' and 'Soldier.' With his songwriting, John Rzeznik confronts some of the issues that have become part of many people's everyday lives:

'I wanted some of the material on this album to address the disillusionment of the difficult period we live in; I wanted to give a voice to the emotional uncertainty that accompanies hard times.'

'So many people are struggling to keep it together through tough economic conditions and two wars that seem to have no end in sight. The ones who bear the brunt of these burdens are everyday people. That's who I want to speak to.'

The recording of the album took place in various studios in Los Angeles as well as the band's studio in Buffalo, and during the course of events the band worked with a wide range of engineers and producers including Tim Palmer, John Fields, and Butch Vig. The result showcases more of the well-crafted songs and timeless lyrics that have been such an integral part of the Goo Goo Dolls' continuing success.

Most bands that were around in 1986 have come and gone. A lot of trends came and went. But through it all the Goo Goo Dolls have been able to survive and stay relevant. They have grown beyond their influences, and have spent their lives creating and performing great songs. And at the end of the day, ...
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Label: Warner Bros
Genre: Rock
Release Date: August 31, 2010

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