Sound — 8
Although it seems that vocalist Johnny Rzeznik never ages in the slightest, the fact remains that the Goo Goo Dolls have been together for 21 years. They've endured while the music scenes has changed, and the band has marked the occasion by releasing the first of 2 compilations called Greatest Hits, Vol. I: The Singles. While both albums will have the Greatest Hits moniker attached to them, the focus for each is quite different. The 2nd volume, which is set for release in 2008, will feature rarities and B-sides, and it may be better suited for fans of the Goo Goo Dolls who want to get their hands on every recording they can. For the general public who wants to hear the ballads that propelled the band to #1 on the charts, however, Greatest Hits, Vol. I: The Singles is the one to purchase. There is really no chronological order to the 14 tracks on The Singles, but it hits on most of the highlights between 1995 and 2006. Ballads are the name of the game on the album, with the smashes Name and Iris being the most recognizable among the bunch. The band definitely has a way with coming up with catchy melodies and love-driven lyrics, and for the most part even the lesser-known ballads should click with fans. A few of the Goo Goo Dolls' more recent songs are covered as well, with Before It's Too Late released earlier this year on the soundtrack for the film Transformers. It does seem that the album is geared to a more sentimental audience, especially when you consider that one of the band's biggest rock hits is nowhere to be found. Long Way Down, originally from A Boy Named Goo and the Twister soundtrack, was one of the true rock and roll singles from the Goo Goo Dolls that hit it big -- even making it to #7 on the Mainstream Rock charts. Apparently the playlist on The Singles is for the Billboard crowd, however, and Long Way Down didn't make the cut. There is one track on the CD that veers slightly from the singles format. Feel The Silence was originally featured on the album Let Love In, but wasn't actually officially released as a single. The compilation contains a newly remixed version of the track, and it actually stands out more than some of the songs that did make it to the charts back in the day. While it feels somewhat like a few of the other ballads on the CD, it still has a strong enough melody to grab your attention.
Lyrics — 8
Love is the topic of choice on Greatest Hits, Vol. I: The Singles, but there is something universal and endearing about the words that Johnny Rzeznik chooses. In Iris Rzeznik sings, And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming; Or the moment of truth in your lies; When everything feels like the movies; And you bleed just to know you're alive. This song and all the others on the album may be a little too emotional for some listeners, but that sentimental side was really what enabled the Goo Goo Dolls to connect with a wider audience in the first place.
Overall Impression — 8
Even if they aren't rock-oriented enough for you, it's hard to not give the Goo Goo Dolls a little credit for staying alive through grunge, post-grunge, the return of metal, you name it. It's true that the band is more of a pop-oriented group with the number of love songs they write, but it's hard to dislike a song like Iris, which pure and simple, is a beautiful song. Most of the tracks follow a similar formula to Iris, and the album does tend to favor that style and paints the band as balladeers first and foremost. And although that may be what the majority of the public wants, it still would have been nice to hear a few more tracks that showed a different side to the Goo Goo Dolls.