Goo Goo Dolls – Let Love In (2006)
purchase this album (Amazon)
The Goo Goo Dolls have sucked since they hit it big with 1995’s perfect power ballad, “Name.” If I were Johnny Rzeznik, I’d want to punch someone every time I heard that — after all, no one ever bought any of the band’s records when they rocked — but it doesn’t make it any less true.
They had a couple of choices after “Name” turned them into household, well, names: Keep on rocking, right into the one-hit-wonder bin, or sell out, and try to stay on the radio with “Name” parts I, II, III, so on and so forth. Clearly, they chose the latter; beginning with 1998’s Dizzy Up the Girl, the band has snipped a chunk of testicle out of its sound, ultimately leading us to this here Let Love In.
This is unfortunate for those of us who thought that 1993’s Superstar Car Wash was something like the perfect power pop record, but you really can’t fault the band. As soon as “Name” hit, they were completely fucked. Even if they had stayed the same, it wasn’t like critics loved them; they were derided as Replacements ripoffs from their first album, and they had little in the way of respectability or so-called artistic integrity to protect. They essentially had to choose between being poor forever or taking their best, last grab at the platinum ring. I would have made the same choice and so would you.
That doesn’t mean Let Love In is interesting music. It’s big and bland and smooth as a baby’s ass, and it’ll sound fine in the car with the windows down, but go in expecting much more, and you’ll be disappointed. Chief rocking duties have been fully handed over to Robby “John Oates” Takac, meaning that — if you’re anything like me — you may find yourself shocked to be looking forward to hearing lead vocals from Robby Takac. I’m not sure whether it’s because Takac’s singing and/or songwriting has improved that much, or because Rzeznik’s bombast grows ever more tiresome in large doses, or both. What I do know is that I’ve listened to this album several times now, and I can’t remember any songs from it other than CNN’s “Katrina anthem” “Better Days” and the pleasant-but-completely-unnecessary cover of Supertramp’s “Give a Little Bit.” Try “Stay With You” (download) and “Without You Here” (download).