Album Review: Goo Goo Dolls – Something for the Rest of Us
Their ninth album isn’t likely to change that dramatically, sticking as it does to a formula that’s served them splendidly since shifting from an early, grunge-like outfit to a polished, commercially box-ticking ensemble with every intention of maintaining their career trajectory. And there’s no shame in that: it’s not like you, the reader, would turn up at work after 15 years of doing a job one way and proceed to tear up the rule book you’d established for yourself. Such actions tend to have repercussions, bad ones. In a nutshell “Something for the Rest of Us” is every bit as easy on the ear as each of their albums has been since 98’s big-league breakthrough, Dizzy up the Girl.
The album opens with the upbeat track, “Sweetest Lie.” The song should definitely be considered as the second single. The track is very relatable to anyone who has been with someone and not had it work out, but then finding themselves wanting to be with that person, even though they’re probably not the one for them. It is apparent on Something for the Rest of Us that the Goo Goo Dolls still know how to rock a love song. From “One Night” and “Still Your Song” to “Hey Ya,” each of these songs has well-crafted melodies and sweet lyrics. The stand out track of the album is the emotionally poignant, “Soldier.” The final song rounds out the album with lyrics that make you feel like the song is being sung directly to you.
“Something For the Rest of Us” is so easy on the ear, indeed, that maintaining focus can be difficult. John Rzeznik’s gruff tones are always the scene-stealing element of any track, but when he’s barking out well-worn clichés about love and loss, it’s a task to read between tired lines and hear some heart. Several tracks aren’t so much dripping with weak metaphors as drowning in them. But the lyrical side of Goo Goo Dolls has never stood up to much serious scrutiny – the point is that these songs are swiftly processed, ensuring sing-along potential is realised amazingly fast. These are songs for belting out in traffic-jammed cars, for humming along to in shopping malls while waiting for a partner to finish up in the changing rooms. They’re not supposed to challenge the grey matter. They are as exclusive as own-range supermarket clothing.
Lead single “Home” has already performed well in the States, offering evidence that Goo Goo Dolls remain a mainstream force to be reckoned with on the other side of the Atlantic – but it’s unlikely they’ll ever repeat that success here. However, British fans of big-chorused rockers like U2, Journey and Bon Jovi yet to investigate this lot are encouraged to do so, as many traits are common across said acts.