Gutterflower by the Goo Goo Dolls
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil () - June 17, 2002 - 12:00am
The Goo Goo Dolls have always been rockers. They want their music to rock hard and it does. But by some ironic twist, the occasional pop ballads they insert in between rock tunes in their albums seem to succeed better with their listeners. The best example is the hugely successful album Dizzy Up Girl, which hit number one in the US and many other parts of the world and the tune Iris, which was also included in the great soundtrack of the movie City of Angels. The sound is rock but it is a very commercial kind even non-rockers who prefer their music soft and melodic can appreciate.

Fans of the group now label the new and seventh Goo Goo Dolls album Gutterflower a cop out. This is the group’s first album of new materials in four years, and it is very easy to see that the Goo Goo Dolls have indeed gone commercial. Their performance is better than ever. Their singing is expressive and the playing, very smooth, truly competent. Detractors, though, say that the music is formulaic and there is always an obvious effort to please.

But I say, why not? What is so wrong with giving the music buyers what they want? The group has found its niche, and that is where they want to remain. It just so happens the music this place gives out is radio-friendly and very saleable. It caters to a bigger market. Of course, it is also very profitable. Such is success. These guys have paid their dues and they now have the privilege of enjoying what they do. So I say, let us also enjoy the music and commend the Goo Goo Dolls for making the audience their priority.

Here is Gone
is the first single release but the pop ballads It’s Over and Sympathy come off best among the 12 cuts in Gutterflower. Smash is good time rock and roll. Those who say the trio has sold out should listen to What Do You Need? This is the sound of the early Goo Goo Dolls and it shows these guys still have what it takes. Other songs are Big Machine, the anthemic opening cut, Think About Me, You Never Know, What a Scene, Up, Up, Up, Tucked Away and Truth is a Whisper.

The Goo Goo Dolls is made up of John Rzeznik, guitarist and lead singer, Robby Takac, bassist and vocalist and Mike Malinin, drummer. John and Robby were teen-agers when they decided to form a group. Mike came in before production on the groundbreaking Dizzy Up Girl started and has remained with the group up to now. All three members produce together with industry veteran Rob Cavallo. John and Robby do all of the songwriting.

Incidentally, Goo Goo Dolls fans who still feel nostalgic for the group’s old sound might want to check out the compilation they came out with a year ago. The title is What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art and Commerce and it does sound like they are trying to rationalize success. It is what could be called a return-to-the-roots album. Hey, they seem to be saying, we did play this way once upon a time, but we have discovered something we enjoy better, so we might as well accept the change and let us all be happy about it.

I do not see anything wrong with that.
Hit songs in the US
The hit songs of the moment in the US according to Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 chart are Foolish by Ashanti; Hot in Here by Nelly; I Need a Girl (Part One) by P. Diddy featuring Usher & Loon; Without Me by Eminem; The Middle by Jimmy Eat World; A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton; What’s Luv? By Fat Joe featuring Ashanti; Oh Boy by Cam’rom featuring Juetz Santana; Addictive by Truth Hurts featuring Rakim; and U Don’t Have to Call by Usher.

The top albums are The Eminem Show by Eminem; Totally Hits 2002, a hit collection featuring various artists; Life Goes On by Donell Jones; P. Diddy & Bad Boy Records Presents… We Invented the Remix by Various Artists led by P. Diddy; Ashanti by the lovely Ashanti; No Shoes, No Shirts, No Problems by Kenny Chesney; Dirty Vegas by Dirty Vegas; Let Go by Avril Lavigne; C’mon, C’mon by Sheryl Crow; Now 9 another hit compilation by Various Artists.

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