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A Boy Named Goo

The Goo Goo Dolls

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Album Review

Produced by Lou Giordano with his trademark full-bodied, immediately accessible, but never washed-out sound, A Boy Named Goo finally got the band across to a wide audience, and deservedly so. Right from the start, the Goo Goo Dolls sound perfectly on the right track after Superstar Car Wash's OK but ultimately go-nowhere feeling — "Long Way Down" is another stone-cold classic of wounded romanticism wedded to catchy Cheap Trick-tinged punk-pop, Rzeznik's singing the not-so-secret weapon. Hearing him on the descending chorus, matching the just sad enough guitar crunch, makes one realize that there's always hope for full-bodied rock & roll. The eternal Replacements tag now makes less sense than ever — the Goos have their own enjoyable sound, Rzeznik's a more individual singer than ever, and all three rock out accordingly. Takac similarly has his own sonic improvements, his formerly rasped high register now just a little more controlled but no less affecting, as winners like "Burnin' Up" and "Somethin' Bad" easily demonstrate. Rzeznik-sung highlights are equally everywhere — the commercial but never stupid "Naked," with a great chorus and immediately radio-friendly music, the equally sharp "Only One," and the mighty fine "Ain't That Unusual." There's no question what the highlight is, though — however untypical of the rest of the album's mid-range feedback fun, "Name," with its sweet but sad acoustic arrangement, made perfect sense as the Goos' long-delayed radio breakthrough. Rzeznik's empathetic vocal, delivering one of his best lyrics on favored subjects of friendship, loss, and fame, matches unfolky strumming and quiet energy, creating a song that feels like both a farewell to the American Dream and to a long-lost partner. All this without sounding a Bruce Springsteen sermon — a rare thing indeed.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic!

An amazing album! 100% worth a listen. Name has got to be the best song on the album in my opinion.

Awesome

Back when lyrics actually meant something. Brilliant album.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Early in their career, the Goo Goo Dolls were frequently dismissed by critics as mere imitators of the Replacements; however, they refined and mainstreamed their sound to become one of the most popular adult alternative rock bands of the 1990s, selling millions of records to audiences largely unfamiliar with their influences. That's no knock on the band, either — the music simply improved in craft and accessibility as the years progressed, and radio happened to be receptive to a style that,...
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A Boy Named Goo, The Goo Goo Dolls
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