Gutterflower is the follow up to the 1998 masterpeice, Dizzy Up The Girl, and it shows. It's got Johns beautiful trademark guitaring, anthem-like choruses, beautifuly written lyrics, and some great acoustic ballads. It's also got Johns hair. But first, the band:
Johnny Rzeznik (Master of Hair) - Guitar, Vocals
Robby Takac - Bass, Vocals
Mike Malinin - Drums
Gutterflower, as a whole, feels like an album based off of love and heartbreak. Rzeznik sings as if he's been hurt, and he's trying to put himself back together again. I'm more than likely mistaken, due to my horrible memory, but it seems as if Rzeznik went through a divorce around the time this album was realeased. And it shows. On any given day, depending on my mood, this album can either A) Make me feel very, very happy or B) Depress the hell out of me. I guess that's part of it's genius. Anyways, onto the show:
1. Big Machine (3:10) - Amazing album opener. Simple yet effective guitar starts it out, with a great verse that truly shows Rzezniks heartache: "Love and sex and loneliness, take what's yours and leave the rest, so I survive. God it's good to be alive". One of the best on the album, and one of the best Goo Goo Dolls songs period. 5/5
2. Think About Me (3:59) - Starts out with a simple little acoustic ditty, then the whole band joins in around 10 seconds. The songs seems to be about a lover he had (presumably his ex-wife), who he really loved, but things just weren't working out between them : "And all you want is something I can't be. And all you want from me is what you need." Good song, sticking to the heartache theme of the album. 4/5
3. Here Is Gone (3:58) - Another acoustic driven song, and an amazing one at that. This song is very, very depressing, even by Rzezniks standards (at least to me.) This is just an amazing song with, surprise, amazing lyrics. I'm not ashamed to admit that everytime Rzeznik belts the line: " I thought I lost you somewhere, but you were never really ever there at all!" it pulls at my heartstings. Another classic. 5/5
4. You Never Know (3:07) - Robbys first song on the album. I'm not a very big fan of Robbys songs, but this one isn't as bad as usual. Some neat little guitar by John starts the song. His lyrics are cheesy, yet effective: "You never take, a promise from a man who sheds his skin. You had to wait, for my achin' heart to break." His voice is pretty good on this song as well. Not on par with Rzeznik, but still a good song in it's own right. 3.5/5
5. What A Scene (4:27) - Back to Rzeznik, and another well writen one. I especially like the guitar work on this one. The lyrics are true Rzeznik, with him singing :" It's all been said before, and all been done, take it easy 'till you make it alone." I feel this song runs about a minute too long, with it ending with Rzeznik and Co. going "Na na na nanana, na na na na" for around a minute. Something to look for is the nice little solo after Rzeznik sings: "Now everyone want's to know your name." towards the end. 4/5
6. Up, up, up (2:58) - Another Takac song, and once again, not too bad (for Robby). A nice thumping bass by Robby keeps the beat, with Rzeznik on guitar. For once, I wasn't really into what Rzeznik was doing on guitar. This is the first time I've ever really felt like singing along to one of Robbys songs, with a very catchy chorus in where his voice soars. 4/5
7. It's Over (3:35) - Back to Rzeznik. Nice guitar effects start out the beginning of the song, which lead into Rzeznik softly crooning the verse. The song builds up, and then leads into one of those Anthem-like choruses I mentioned. " But it's over to you! I can't find the answers when your'g gone. And it's over to you! But you can't find the answers where you are!" Amazing lyrics, amazing guitar = Rzeznik at his best. 5/5
8. Sympathy (2:58) - Oh boy. Classic Rzeznik lyrics, beautiful work on his acoustic guitar, this song is great. Starts off with a verrrrry catchy acoustic guitar, followed by Rzeznik singing some very wonderfuly written lyrics. This song is the "Acoustic #3" of the album. Just the emotion Rzeznik puts in his voice as he sings is enough to give me shivers. A very depressing song, hidden behind his beautiful guitaring. I know there is a mandolin in this song (which is played amazingly well, may I add) and I'm pretty sure it's played by Greg Suran, since he played it in concert and he's mentioned in the album credits. Short but sweet. 5/5
9. What Do You Need? (3:49) - Starts out with some nice guitaring by Rzeznik. Really well written lyrics, as well: "Fear makes you fragile darling. Hate is too heavy when you're weak. Now we're both lost in anger. When we're alone we'll find some peace." This song is more than likely directed at his ex-wife. He just feels like she has a vice grip on the relationship: "What do you need from me tonight? The truth is so complicated now. You feel so free to say: You're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong!" Another great song. 4.5/5
10. Smash (2:26) - Uh oh. It's Robby again, but he's not on top of his form this time. Boring, droning lyrics really detract from the mood that Rzeznik has set up over the past three songs. The only high point is after the second chorus, when he sings: "And I see it from another place right now. I'm coming home, before I hit the ground, right back where I want to be right now." Other than that, this song is coma inducingly dull. 2.5/5
11. Tucked Away (3:13) - Joy! Two generic Robby songs in a row! The only thing good about this song is Johnnys hair. It looks really amazing on this song. I don't know that because I can't see it, but I assume it is. 2/5
12. Truth is a Whisper (4:00) - Opens up with eerie sounding guitar that slowly builds up to the verse. Once again, beautiful lyrics by Rzeznik, as well as simple but amazing guitar, with great drums as well. The chorus blows me away: "(You know all I am) Feel this moment in you (You know all I am) Can you teach me to believe in something?!" It ends with the guitar slowly building down to nothing. This song really sums up the atmosphere that Johnnys been building up through the rest of the album. A very depressing song. But amazing at that. 5/5
:Some truly amazing songs.
:Wonderfully written lyrics (on Johns part)
:Some great guitaring.
:Builds up a mood of heartache and loneliness.
:Robbys last two songs (Smash and Tucked Away) almost shatter the mood that's being built up over the rest of the album.
Overall rating: 4/5