CD Review of Greatest Hits, Volume I - The Singles by The Goo Goo Dolls
Recommended if you like
Fastball, Dishwalla, Everclear
Label
Warner Brothers
The Goo Goo Dolls:
Greatest Hits, Volume I - The Singles

Reviewed by R. David Smola

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T
he Singles does a tremendous job of summarizing the chart success of the Goo Goo Dolls. After listening to it, you might be surprised that you knew some of the words to nearly every track on the album. They don’t have a sexy name and they aren’t in the tabloids all the time; all they do is release strong, ear-friendly material. Johnny Rzeznik has appeared on Fox’s “The Next Great American Band” as a judge, and with his naughty tattooed pretty-boy look, maybe the band’s profile will be elevated a bit. When you break it down, the bottom line is that the Dolls are a band that can craft a hit. Given that they started as a punk band in 1985 before morphing from a Replacements-like band to the pop rock band they are, the Dolls have outlasted many of their contemporaries, and have held onto a nice level of success while others have become mired in obscurity and lacked the consistent chart success that Rzeznik, his bassist pal, Robby Takac and (second) drummer Mike Malinin have achieved.

“Name,” from A Boy Named Goo, blew up in 1995; unlike, say, Dishwalla, the Dolls were able to follow up that first big single with further chart success. “Iris” is a grand sweeping ballad that completed the transformation from their Replacement-like work to pure pop magic. “Iris” was on the radio forever before it was released on a Dolls album, because the song was featured in the film and soundtrack for the Nicolas Cage movie “City of Angels” before landing on Dizzy up the Girl. “Slide” is just a brilliant rocking little ditty which makes you move your feet. Contrast that with the Glen Ballard-produced “Let Love In,” from the album of the same name – enormous and sweeping, it oozes slickness. The track they contributed to last year’s “Transformers” movie is also included on the collection, and is the only song that doesn’t stand with the other material. It isn’t a bad track, but it isn’t as good as “Stay With You” or “Dizzy.”

A perfect complimentary piece to this record is 2002’s Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce, which dives deep into the band’s catalog and gives a more complete picture of the Goo Goo Dolls. Grab Ego and Hits, and you will have a fabulous representation of what the band is about. The Goo Goo Dolls haven’t released a ton of material – just eight records since 1987’s self-titled debut – but, as Greatest Hits demonstrates, they have focused on quality, hooky material that has helped them prosper.

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