CD review: Goo Goo Dolls – Magnetic

May 21, 2013


Sometimes all you want from your music is a simple and accessible yet emotionally authentic composition, and that’s where the Goo Goo Dolls come in. Founded in 1985 by guitarist and lead vocalist John Rzeznik, and bassist and occasional vocalist Robby Takac, the band has mastered the art of the traditional rock arrangement, making consistent yet always memorable music throughout the decades. But at the same time, Rzeznik and his bandmates always try to change their sound to keep things fresh and stay relevant. This remains true to this day, as evidenced in their newest album, Magnetic.

The album begins with a perfectly placed track. “Rebel Beat” is the most commercially viable track in the album, with an upbeat, pop-appealing chorus that contrasts with the more traditional sound of the Goo Goo Dolls in the verses.

The second track, “When the World Breaks Your Heart,” is where Rzeznik’s emotional voice shines, singing heart-felt yet uplifting lyrics: “When the world breaks your heart / I can put it back together / Write your name across the sky / So I’m always with you…” It’s a more positive response to the band’s hit “Iris,” and is the less pop-sounding yet more stand-out tune in the album, making it a perfect fit for the second track.

In “More of You,” the band takes a new turn, adding an electronic bassline, showing their ability to stay with the current times, despite their 90s sound. And unlike many rock bands that have tried to integrate electronic music production into their arrangements, the Goo Goo Dolls manage to make it work. By mixing the electronic element in such a way so as to make it complement the drums, the band makes the change a subtle one that fits into the sound of the Goo Goo Dolls as we know it, rather than dramatically changing it to stay relevant.

In “Bringing On the Light” and “Happiest of Days,” Robby Takac brings out his distinct, gritty voice, reminding the listeners of his ability to take the lead role. And he was, after all, the original lead singer of the band.

And all these are less than half the tracks in the album, but if you were looking for a filler, you wouldn’t be able to find any. Magnetic is an album that will be played over and over again throughout the years, without a single song to be missed.