Something For The Rest Of Us
UG Team, on september 16, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The Goo Goo Dolls aren't about to fix what's not broken. The trio has churned out three number-one hit singles in the US alone, and although not quite the hot ticket it used to be, is still a shoe-in for radio airplay. It's always interesting to reflect on how much the Goo Goo Dolls have strayed from their original punk-influenced roots, but more bands than not veer toward more of a pop-driven sound as popularity (and commercial success) comes their way. With the Buffalo natives' ninth studio album Something For The Rest Of Us, listeners receive another album full of feasible hit singles that don't stray too far from Slide or Iris.
At no time do the Goo Goo Dolls ever embrace a full-on rock sound on Something For The Rest Of Us. In the same breath, most of the tracks rarely broach full-on ballad territory at least when comparing them with previous heart-tuggers like Name. The material tends to be stuck in that mid-tempo, soft rock territory that, again, is so prevalent on the airwaves. The opener Sweetest Lie is one of the more energetic offerings, fully giving in to a pop mentality. The standout aspect about Sweetest Lie and the majority of the 12 tracks is that guitarist/vocalist John Rzeznik pulls out a wide variety of tones/effects. These become even more accentuated because producers Tim Palmer, Butch Vig, and John Fields add layer after layer of instrumentation at times.
As I Am is a dreamier number thanks to an effects-laden guitar intro line. It's not necessarily an emotion-fueled track and ends up being your standard pop fare, but once again it shows that Rzeznik has a knack for creating a mood with his tones. The title track is probably the truest ballad of them all, and not surprisingly, they nail that one. Now I Hear and Say You're Free showcases the vocals of bassist and once-full-time lead vocalist for the Goo Goo DollsRobby Takac. His lead tracks aren't necessarily that much grittier at their core, but his vocal style almost makes them appear that way. His presence makes for a great contrasting dynamic and it would be satisfying to hear him bring out more of his punk rock roots in the future. // 7
Lyrics: The Goo Goo Dolls don't astound with their lyrical content and the themes are all fairly familiar. As I Am could be considered your standard thanks-for-being there track, while Not Broken is the pick-me-up-when-I'm down number. Plenty of bands dip into these topics and they are certainly ideas that can connect with a large audience. The love-driven tracks (in One Night Rzeznik sings, God, you still amaze me when you speak to me that way; The sound of your voice, The look in your eyes) will most definitely tug at the same heart strings affected by Iris. This is general pop-rock territory and it's certainly worked for the Goo Goo Dolls for the past few decades. // 7
Overall Impression: Something For The Rest Of Us is predictable, yes, but Rzeznik does his best to make the 12 tracks a bit more interesting with his bevy of guitar tones/effects (as well as a bit of piano/keyboard). These aren't overused and are relatively subtle, but there are enough to set them apart from the usual pop rock accompaniments. You can't really be mad at the Goo Goo Dolls for staying in their comfort zone, but with the music world offering so many more interesting acts these days, Rzeznik's now adult contemporary vibe seems outdated. // 7
Something For The Rest Of Us
holydiver135, on september 17, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: I first heard about the upcoming release of a new Goo Goo Dolls record almost a year ago, when it was expected to be due last February. It was a bad sign (or good, depending how you look at it) when The Goo Goo Dolls announced they'd be heading back into the studio to fix up tracks and delay the release because they deemed the record not good enough for its intended release, so I've had a long time to look forward to this album.
It was apparent after the first few tracks that Goo was pretty much attempting to write the same type of music it has been writing for the last 15 years or so, which (to most people except die hard punk fans of the earliest Goo Goo Dolls records) will come across as a positive. However, as I got through more songs, the biggest problem I realized with the album was that something was missing. The melodies just don't seem as catchy, and the overall music just doesn't seem as full. On previous albums, it seemed that they explored using different instruments, such as mandolins (Iris) and flutes (Let Love In) and piano (Real) to get their points across. While this album does feature some keyboard, overall the sound is definitely plain compared to the previous releases. Production is subtly different from their last album, as they switched back to Rob Cavallo who helped produce Dizzy Up The Girl and Gutterflower. Because of this, the overall sound does contain a little bit of that rawness those previous albums had (besides Let Love In, which isn't Cavallo), although not to the extent of Gutterflower. // 6
Lyrics: John Rzeznik sounds as good as he ever did. His lyrics are hit home, they're maybe not as stunning as they are on Iris but they work just fine. His lyrics are simple, but they always are deep and he has the ability to make a connection with anyone who listens to him with his words. I read some interviews from John and Robby Takac saying this album would have more depressing and darker themes, but in that regard it feels just like their previous records did. It might come as pleasant news that Robby Takac is only featured singing on two songs out of twelve (and the songs are really not bad either). // 7
Overall Impression: Overall, it is a decent album. Not a song is bad, but at the same time, I doubt I will listen to this album much more outside of a few tracks. The best song on the album is Soldier, which happens to be the last song, and had it not come on I would've pretty much written the album off as completely mediocre. As I Am has a fantastic introduction that reminds me a lot of the Let Love In songs, I just don't think the chorus lives up to the rest of the song and is a letdown. Home is a pretty interesting song as well. Nothing else really sticks out unfortunately, every other song is not too memorable. If you really want some good Goo Goo Dolls to listen to first, I would suggest listening to Dizzy Up The Girl, Gutterflower, and Let Love In. This album just doesn't really compare to those. // 6