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.