The Goo Goo Dolls – Magnetic
Record Label: Warner Bros Records
Release Date: June 11 2013
This year has marked a return for a few very prominent artists and bands, such as Justin Timberlake, Fall Out Boy, and Daft Punk, but this year also marks how amazing it is that bands who have been around as long as New York trio The Goo Goo Dolls. Although they’ve been a band for 28 years, they’re still going, so that’s what makes their tenth record Magnetic such a big deal. The only other experience I have with this band is 1998’s Dizzy Up the Girl, which I bought a copy of a few months ago, and really enjoyed. My friend is a huge fan of this band, and I’ve heard of them for quite some time, but never got into them. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan, but they’re enjoyable alternative rock/pop-rock. With this record, the only song I knew prior to picking it up was first single “Rebel Beat.” I woke up early one morning and VH1 was playing the music video, and I really enjoyed it, which made me want to check it out even more. Well, I’ve listened to it a few times, and ultimately, I’m not terribly impressed, but I’m not disappointed, either. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the record, so I’m not totally indifferent on it, but I’m not very impressed, either.
While I’ve only listened to one record out of their other nine (not including this one), Magnetic does sound quite a bit a lot like Dizzy Up the Girl. The real question to ask is whether or not that’s a bad thing. It’s been 15 years since Dizzy Up the Girl, and while not much has changed, that can be a double-edged sword for a band. Fans aren’t accustomed to change, and since The Goo Goo Dolls have already established themselves as a very successful radio rock band in the late 90s with the success of “Iris,” which is unarguably their most popular track, do they really need to change anything? On the other hand, if they don’t change something, people are going to complain, and this is known as the music paradox. For The Goo Goo Dolls, however, they don’t really seem to care much, because they have nothing to lose at this point in their careers. Regardless, though, as a standalone record, Magnetic holds up rather nicely. Like I said, I’m not terribly impressed, but I’m not disappointed, either.
Vocalist and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik’s voice is still just as great, so that’s never an issue. As with previous records, bassist Robby Takac sings on a couple of tracks. I hate to make any more comparisons to Dizzy Up the Girl, but I couldn’t stand his voice on that record whatsoever. His voice was very scratchy and really didn’t do anything for me. I was pleasantly surprised with the two songs on he appears on, which are “Bringing On the Light,” and “Happiest of Days,” because his voice has improved. I still don’t really care for it, but he’s actually not that bad. The instrumentation is still just as solid, too; songs like “Rebel Beat,” “When the World Breaks Your Heart,” and “Come to Me” have great instrumentation, which is mainly an acoustic guitar with very soft melodies. Rzeznik has a thing for acoustic guitars, but that’s okay, because that’s where he shines best, basically. A few songs don’t do much for me, and kind of just fade into the background, because most of the songs do follow the same “formula,” which is the first of a couple of issues I have with this album. Some songs just fall to the wayside, because they sound like something else on the record. One example is ninth track “Last Hot Night;” this song is forgettable for a couple reasons, but one reason is that it doesn’t really do anything different than other songs on the record. The best example of a pop-rock song on this record is easily opening track “Rebel Beat.” A majority of the songs have some kind of hook, and “Rebel Beat” is the best example of it, and it’s also one of the highlights, too.
The second thing that really bugs me about this record is its lyrics. Yes, I know that “Iris” has some great lyrics, and it truly does, but there’s no way that The Goo Goo Dolls are going to relive that. While the lyrics are quite relatable and simple, they’re also cliché at some points. Songs like “Caught In the Storm,” “Bringing On the Light,” and “Bulletproofangel” are enjoyable songs, it’s just the lyrics tend to fall into familiar territory. Their hearts are in the right places, however, and that keeps the songs afloat. Remember when I said I’d talk about “Last Hot Night” more? Well, this is one of the couple songs that just absolutely do nothing for me. The instrumentation is rather forgettable, but so are the lyrics. It’s a nice summer song that celebrates the end of summer, but that’s it. It wouldn’t make sense to play this in the winter, so ultimately, it falls to the wayside. It’s fun, and lighthearted, but it doesn’t really go anywhere or do anything. Some songs are very strong, however, and do make the whole record a great listen. As I mentioned, “Rebel Beat” starts it off nicely, and is easily one of the catchiest songs on the record, and even one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard. Lyrically, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but does it have to be? The Goo Goo Dolls have been around for a long time, and like I said, they don’t have anything to lose at this point. This album is pretty good for what it is – a catchy, lighthearted pop-rock/alternative record. If you’re looking for a very introspective and philosophical record, you won’t find it here. All in all, though, Magnetic is a perfect summer record, and it’s yet another record for The Goo Goo Dolls to add to their discography, and you can’t really go wrong with it.