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Album Review: Goo Goo Dolls – Magnetic

3 min read

After listening to the Goo Goo Dolls’ newest album Magnetic, the strongest conclusion to be made is that the trio from New York have found their happy place. Magnetic is a feel-good album with lots more electronic experimentation and a less guitar-heavy feel than what we’ve heard from them before. The new direction could be enough to entice younger fans perhaps unfamiliar with their older efforts but also satisfy their long-standing fans with its more-poppy-yet-still-Goo-Goo-rocky-sound.

GooGooDollsMagneticMagnetic features 11 new tracks plus a live recording of Home (Something for the Rest of Us, 2010) and Black Balloon (Dizzy up the Girl, 1998) on the deluxe edition.

The opening track and first single Rebel Beat is catchy and up-beat, drawing similarities to Train’s Hey, Soul Sister come-back of 2009. This is one of the more mainstream-friendly songs from the Goos and opens the door for the rest of the happy, fun spirited songs on the album.

When the World Breaks Your Heart is more like the old Goo Goo Dolls, with a strong instrumental background and John Rzeznik singing cheesy yet sweet lyrics like “When the world breaks your heart/I can put it back together”. This is arguably the best song on the album, fighting hard to earn a place as one of the top Goo Goo Dolls songs, especially the climactic declaration “You’re not alone”.

Next up is Slow it Down, and if Rebel Beat didn’t get stuck in your head, this one will. This track is a classic pop-rock love song with a foot-tapping chorus (“If the world should spin too fast/I’ll slow it down for you”) and rhythmic verses.

Caught in the Storm is your typical lost-love song (“We’re all just looking for something, something to believe in/I’m caught in this storm we call love/So alone come find me”) set to a memorable instrumental backdrop which builds through the song and peaks right before and during the last chorus.

Come to Me is a simple, acoustic based love song which details getting married and growing old with that special someone. Perhaps a tribute to Rzeznik’s fiancée, maybe love was in the air when this album was written, explaining its positive twist.

Accompanied by a great set of lyrics and instrumental work, bassist Robby Takac lends his vocals to the album for a couple of slower-paced, guitar-driven songs (Bringing on the Light, Happiest of Days) which gives Magnetic that little something extra and helps to balance the upbeat perkiness of the album, along with the flawless ballad Bulletproof Angel.

A good band will experiment from time to time to make sure their sound doesn’t become stale or worn out and sometimes this experimentation works (Rebel Beat, Come to Me). Sometimes it doesn’t (More of You). More of You is a pop sounding, clichéd track (“No I won’t give up, no I won’t back down/Never ever gonna let you go”) which lacks the soul of the Goos previous hits and probably wouldn’t have been missed had it not made the final cut.

Last Hot Night consists of the more rock-based verses on the album with a kind of happy rock-pop chorus which is catchy but not too soft. This song finds the balance between the new and old Goo Goo Dolls sound and sets up nicely for Takac’s Happiest of Days and the album closer.

Keep the Car Running is a fitting final track that features some of the less peppy lyrics of the album (“There are days when I feel that everything that’s good is gone/There are times that I feel no matter what I do it’s wrong”) but also shows that fast-paced sound that’s so consistent on Magnetic.

Magnetic may not have an Iris, Slide or Black Balloon but it’s a fun, happy album deserving of a listen. It is not a great album by Goo Goo Dolls standards, but it is a good album with some quality songs and production. The Goos should be commended on their ability to constantly adjust their sound over the past 28 years (yes it’s been that long!) to stay relevant in the current scene without losing touch with their original rock roots which brought them so much success throughout the 80’s and 90’s.

Buy ‘Goo Goo Dolls – Magnetic’ from Amazon