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Goo Goo Dolls - Magnetic Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 8
Production 8
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 80%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.25
Musicianship 6.25
Lyrics 6.25
Production 6.25
Creativity 6.25
Lasting Value 6.25
Reviewer Tilt 6.25
Average: 63%

Goo Goo Dolls - Magnetic

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (06/26/13)
Goo Goo Dolls - Magnetic
Record Label: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 11, 2013

Thirty years. 10 albums. More than ten million albums sold worldwide. Fourteen top ten hits at the hot AC radio format, a feat unmatched by any other artist in the history of the format. The only band to have three songs on Billboard's Top 100 Songs from 1992-2012. A Songwriter's Hall of Fame award. The unending accolades of Buffalo, NY's Goo Goo Dolls knows no bounds. So why not keep on chugging? With their tenth album Magnetic the band continues doing what they do best: writing first-rate adult contemporary radio rock. Come to think of it, this might be the band's best since Gutterflower.

Album opener and current single "Rebel Beat' marries Johhny Rzeznik's raspy voice with a shimmering modern pop song. Ebullient and motivational, "Rebel Beat" is a no-worries, feel-good summer song. Its successor "When the World Breaks Your Heart" continues the motivational-cum-inspirational verve of "Rebel Beat" and does so in a manner thats equal parts sweeping, cinematic and solid. This is the trio's bread and butter and truthfully they do it as well as anybody. The harmless radio rock of "Slow it Down" follows and continues the easy-to-please veneer of the album. While the song is far from the album's best, it isn't exactly a throwaway either.

If anything it serves its purpose as a fitting segue between the fast-slow-fast rhythm of "When the World Breaks Your Heart" and the hard-charging "Caught In This Storm." And it is on this song that Rzeznik and Co. make one of their brightest statements to date. Ostensibly a valentine about romance, "Caught In This Storm" is anthemic, melodic and undeniably catchy. The disc's first half closes with "Come To Me," an intimate and warm slice of indie folk that is arguably one of the best song's Rzeznik has ever put to pen. Whether its the conviction in his vocals or the assuaging veneer of the song itself, the band sounds as strong and renewed as ever.

Bassist Robby Takac takes to the mic on the surging "Bringing on the Light," a song that is arguably one of his best to date as well. Punchy, dense and cerebral it's another step forward on an album that so far has yet to take any wrong turns. Unfortunately that statement grinds to a halt on the self-indulgent and overdone "More of You," a half-hearted attempt at modern pop that borrows the charm of "Rebel Beat" but waters it down. Being that its no longer than three minutes, it's a fine slab of filler, but it's purpose and placement still seems puzzling. Never one to let a dud mire the rest of the album, the trio returns with the towering ballad "Bullet Proof Angel." Like a present-day version of "Iris," the song is everything the band does well: heartfelt, tender, gripping, emotive, well-constructed, memorable. As Magnetic presses on, the Buffalo-by-way-of-Los Angeles chart-toppers offer up three of the album's best songs.

The first is the surging "Last Hot Night," another stab at radio-ready rock that's buoyant, sun-drenched and summery. Not too long ago songs like "Last Hot Night" were beloved and widespread. But in the current state of modern music, songs like this seem to be few and far between. If "Last Hot Night" has any staying power it is exactly that, a firm reminder that Goo Goo Dolls relish in writing ebullient pop-rock songs and do it about as well as anybody. Takac returns to the mic for the brooding "Happiest of Days," another dark effort that despite its title tackles some rather weighty subjects. Once again the song is as strong as anything he has written to date and continues the trend of solid songwriting. Magnetic closes with with the burly and lingering "Keep the Car Running," a steady tonic to momentum and memory.

Now here's the rub with Magnetic. From a technical standpoint, the album does little to challenge, provoke or push the envelope. From a thematic standpoint, there's no cerebral or overarching theme, there's no incendiary political or social statements. At its core, it is a safe, sun-kissed collection of 11 utterly harmless light rock songs about the delights of newfound love. Anyone who has found favor with any of the Goo Goo Dolls prior material will find plenty of reason to adore Magnetic. Whether or not the album brings in hordes of new fans remains to be seen. Either way, the band has risen past the forgettable Something For The Rest of Us and outdone the rather impressive Let Love In. Sure, they may be getting older, but they certainly haven't forgotten how to write first-rate radio-ready music. Like the album title indicates, the Goo Goo Dolls are magnetic indeed.

Recommended if You Like Matt Nathanson, Matchbox Twenty, Vertical Horizon, Tonic, Dishwalla


Tracklisting 1. Rebel Beat
2. When the World Breaks Your Heart
3. Slow it Down
4. Caught In This Storm
5. Come To Me
6. Bringing On the Light
7. More of You
8. Bullet Proof Angel
9. Last Hot Night
10. Happiest of Days
11. Keep the Car Running

Produced by Greg Wattenberg, John Shanks, Greg Wells, Rob Cavallo and Goo Goo Dolls


Find Them Here http://www.googoodolls.com
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 18
05:49 AM on 06/26/13
#2
Craig Manning
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I think I like Let Love In more, as far as their recent stuff is concerned, but there are some solid summer jams on this disc. I just sort of wish they would go back to the more organic production of their 90s stuff. This album sounds great, but it doesn't have the same heart and soul that made them a chart topping band back in the day. And I've never really liked Takac's tracks, but the production especially seems to hurt him here. He should be singing dirty, loud, Replacements-esque punk songs, not AC ballads.
08:07 AM on 06/26/13
#3
promisemedan
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Awesome review. I've always been more of a casual Goo Goo Dolls listener, but I'm listening to this album now and so far I'm really liking it. It does feel like a safe record, but for a band like the Goo Goo Dolls it works.
09:13 AM on 06/26/13
#4
bigfoamfinger
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One of my favorite bands, and I am always amazed at how they can continue to come up with such great material each album. I feel LLI and SFTROU have stronger songs than Magnetic (when it comes to recent material), but this album is still really really good. They keep coming up with hits when most bands would have fizzled out, and that's why they'll be in the Rock Hall soon.
10:10 AM on 06/26/13
#5
Phil507
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I defended this band for a while but this (and the last two albums) are straight-up fluffy adult-contemporary snooze-fests.
10:27 AM on 06/26/13
#6
sammyboy516
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Interesting that you feel that way about Slow It Down. I think it and Keep the Car Running easily among the band's best songs since Gutterflower. Definitely the most "classic Goo" they've sounded in years.
10:28 AM on 06/26/13
#7
Me & My Arrow
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My own review (http://absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=3227891) for this just went up as well; some things in common (particularly about "More of You" and it being the best album since Gutterflower), but a couple of major disagreements:

- I think "Slow It Down" is one of the best songs on the album, except for that one chord in the chorus that sticks out like a sore thumb
- "Come to Me" is solid, but VERY far from being one of the best songs Rzeznik's written. Honestly, I could put 50+ songs ahead of it on that list
- How the heck is "Bringing on the Light" cerebral? It's the most straightforward rock song on the album, and the lyrics are pretty bland.
- Not sure how you can compare "Bulletproof Angel" to "Iris"; it sounds like a R&B ballad a la OneRepublic
- Definitely did not find Let Love In to be "rather impressive"; most of it was weak attempts to remake "Iris" and none of it had any staying power

As I said in my review, I think the band is headed back in the right direction, but they're still not there yet.
10:41 AM on 06/26/13
#8
semisonic30
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Superstar carwash, A boy named Goo and Gutterflower are all impressive albums...after that they just got plain boring.
10:45 AM on 06/26/13
#9
Craig Manning
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At least half of Let Love In is great, classic Goo Goo Dolls material. Don't really get how anyone could like Gutterflower and not like that one.
10:58 AM on 06/26/13
YouHaveNoClue
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great review
11:02 AM on 06/26/13
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At least half of Let Love In is great, classic Goo Goo Dolls material. Don't really get how anyone could like Gutterflower and not like that one.
Here's why I love Gutterflower and don't like Let Love In, and why I don't get how people think the two are similar:

- The lyrics are significantly worse
- The production is horrendous; everything is drowned in reverb and has no clarity or punch
- It completely lacks the dark angst and edge of Gutterflower; there are no songs even remotely stylistically comparable to "It's Over", "What Do You Need?", or "Truth Is a Whisper"
- "Without You Here" and "Become" are two of the lamest, sappiest ballads the band's ever written
- There's only one really loud rock song, "Stay with You", and it's pretty by-the-numbers and bland
- The only song that really sounds like those on Gutterflower is "We'll Be Here (When You're Gone)", and the song it sounds like ("What a Scene") is probably my least favorite Rzeznik song on Gutterflower

The one thing Let Love In has going for it is that I think "Listen" is Robby's best song on any album. Sorry for the rant-y post; if you couldn't tell, they are my favorite band, so I've been disappointed for the past decade as I keep hoping they'll release another killer album.
01:53 PM on 06/26/13
sammyboy516
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At least half of Let Love In is great, classic Goo Goo Dolls material. Don't really get how anyone could like Gutterflower and not like that one.
Really? Let Love in is completely different in tone/sound/everything in my opinion. Gutterflower is much darker.
06:41 PM on 06/26/13
Archael
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I thought this was awful.
06:58 AM on 06/27/13
Craig Manning
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Here's why I love Gutterflower and don't like Let Love In, and why I don't get how people think the two are similar:

- The lyrics are significantly worse
- The production is horrendous; everything is drowned in reverb and has no clarity or punch
- It completely lacks the dark angst and edge of Gutterflower; there are no songs even remotely stylistically comparable to "It's Over", "What Do You Need?", or "Truth Is a Whisper"
- "Without You Here" and "Become" are two of the lamest, sappiest ballads the band's ever written
- There's only one really loud rock song, "Stay with You", and it's pretty by-the-numbers and bland
- The only song that really sounds like those on Gutterflower is "We'll Be Here (When You're Gone)", and the song it sounds like ("What a Scene") is probably my least favorite Rzeznik song on Gutterflower

The one thing Let Love In has going for it is that I think "Listen" is Robby's best song on any album. Sorry for the rant-y post; if you couldn't tell, they are my favorite band, so I've been disappointed for the past decade as I keep hoping they'll release another killer album.

Fair enough. Gutterflower is definitely darker, but I've never really thought Let Love In was at odds with the arc their sound took after A Boy Named Goo: each album added more pop sheen and moved their sound in a safer and more mainstream direction. I don't really love either album (Gutterflower has some of their best songs, particularly "Big Machine," but there's too much Takac), but I do adore the first four songs and a few others on Let Love In. I also feel like Robby's songs disrupt from the flow less on that album than they do on most others, which is a big thing for me, since Robby is pretty much what has kept any of this band's albums away from my favorites list.
07:38 AM on 06/27/13
Gregory Robson
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My own review (http://absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=3227891) for this just went up as well; some things in common (particularly about "More of You" and it being the best album since Gutterflower), but a couple of major disagreements:

- I think "Slow It Down" is one of the best songs on the album, except for that one chord in the chorus that sticks out like a sore thumb
- "Come to Me" is solid, but VERY far from being one of the best songs Rzeznik's written. Honestly, I could put 50+ songs ahead of it on that list
- How the heck is "Bringing on the Light" cerebral? It's the most straightforward rock song on the album, and the lyrics are pretty bland.
- Not sure how you can compare "Bulletproof Angel" to "Iris"; it sounds like a R&B ballad a la OneRepublic
- Definitely did not find Let Love In to be "rather impressive"; most of it was weak attempts to remake "Iris" and none of it had any staying power

As I said in my review, I think the band is headed back in the right direction, but they're still not there yet.
We can agree to disagree on "Slow it Down." I never said it was terrible, I just think of the first four, its number 4 to me. But every person hears stuff different, ya know?

I'm shocked you could put 50 songs ahead of "Come To Me." I think it is an absolute triumph, but to each their own, dude. Listen I'm just happy to find fellow GGD fans on this website.

When I called "Bringing on the Light" cerebral, I meant the verses. Robby always has a tone of cerebral in how he sings and how he projects his voice. I can't describe it well, but that's just my interpretation of his singing style and how he presents his words.

Bulletproof Angel is indeed a nod to OneRepublic, and that's a strong point that I probably should have presented. So I tip my hat to you. It's not nearly as sweeping or grand as "Iris," but I think it has some similarities. Just my takeaway.

When I call Let Love in impressive, I guess I'm comparing it against Something For The Rest Of Us, which I felt was very forgettable. There are only two or three songs on Let Love In, I can't stand. I actually really love that album and it reminds me of a really great time in my life, so it will always be super important to me.

Glad we agree on "More of You" and that this is the best album since Gutterflower.

As I said prior, I'm just happy to have a dialogue about GGD on this website. While they continually disappoint me in concert, their records are pretty important to me.
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