Sound — 7
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 Dolls Robby 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.
Lyrics — 7
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.
Overall Impression — 7
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.