Goo Goo Dolls
Magnetic


2.0
poor

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
June 12th, 2013 | 56 replies


Release Date: 06/05/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Expired milk.

When you’ve been around for as long as the Goo Goo Dolls have, there’s a few inevitable crossroads that you’ll face: how to follow up on the debut, the direction of the band after its first hit album, when and how to experiment, and ultimately how to deal with prolonged success. For the Goo Goo Dolls, their answer has been identical across the board: change nothing. It may sound like a bad thing, but when you’re a mainstream rock outfit with an enormous following there isn’t much to be gained from trying something wildly different. So after nine albums of listening to this band repeat both its successes and its failures, opener ‘Rebel Beat’ may cause your ears to do a little bit of a double-take.

Complete with a danceable rhythm, a shout-along chorus, and elegant piano in the verses, ‘Rebel Beat’ possesses an almost tropical air. While it’s not a complete one-eighty, it’s the widest turn of the dial that the Dolls have attempted in their quarter century old history – and it revitalizes an aspect of the band that has been dead for over a decade: creativity. Truthfully, it’s as close to Train’s ‘Hey Soul Sister’ as the Goo Goo Dolls ever been, and even though that comparison sets the bar low from an artistic perspective, it’s more the idea of change that beckons the listener to continue on after years of knowing exactly what was coming next. For once, we have the pleasure of expecting more.

And what idiots we are. Despite the bright, oddly vintage artwork and the hope brought about by ‘Rebel Beat’, we are ultimately left with the same band that tried to write ‘Iris’ in about ten different ways. It’s not the worst thing in the world, because the Goo Goo Dolls have done a lot of stuff right in order to establish themselves as perhaps the premier radio rock band of the last couple decades, but it rings all the more hollow after being given a taste of experimentation. ‘When the World Breaks Your Heart’ assumes the obligatory role of poignant mid-tempo rocker, taking up cliché lyrics such as “when the world breaks your heart, I’ll put it back together” and thrusting them upon a gorgeous instrumental canvas. It’s Goo Goo Dolls 101, and you’ll hear a lot more of that as the record goes on.

Magnetic generally lacks the catchiness and vitality of past efforts, as the band tries in vein to reinvent the wheel but fails to accomplish anything as impressive as ‘Iris’, ‘Here is Gone’, ‘Black Balloon’, ‘Let Love In’, [insert hit single here]. The aforementioned ‘Rebel Beat’ and ‘When the World Breaks Your Heart’ are probably the album’s best bets for seeing commercial success, but after that front-loaded beginning there really isn’t anything that is worth listening to twice. ‘Come to Me’, while a mild-mannered acoustic track, screams for attention in its obvious attempt to rekindle whatever magic ‘Acoustic #3’ possessed all the way back in 1998. ‘Slow It Down’, ‘Caught In The Storm’, ‘Come to Me’, and ‘More of You’ all lack soul, let alone any appreciable lyrical value in order to carry the dull songwriting that Rzeznik and co. slapped together. It’s unfortunate, but about eighty percent of Magnetic consists of forgettable melodies and half-hearted retreads of songs that, after ten albums, are almost certainly beyond their reach now.

If the band deserves some credit, it’s in the production. Unlike their last several albums, there is actually a degree of grit here – ushering us away from a long era of sleek studio make-up. There’s still nothing here that approaches the rawness of ‘Dizzy’ or ‘Amigone’, but the absence of “studio magic” is noticeable and would have lent Magnetic an air of authenticity if it wasn’t for the glaringly unauthentic lyrics. Also, Robby Takac’s vocal contributions on ‘Happiest of Days’ are perhaps the best he’s ever done, providing a lone bright spot on the back half of the album’s tracklist. All in all though, none of this is enough to save Magnetic from mediocrity.

In the end, the main question surrounding this release might be “why, after ten albums of changing nothing, is it suddenly not enough?” It’s a fair question to ask, and perhaps the answer lies within the listener. Younger fans of mainstream music may find the appeal in Magnetic because they weren’t mired by the songs’ earlier counterparts and the massive amount of airtime they received. But for anyone who has been around to see this band’s heyday, it is safe to say that there is absolutely nothing more that The Goo Goo Dolls have to offer. They’ve finally filled up their quota for following the same exact approach over and over again – they’ve gotten old, they’re shells of who they used to be, they’re expired milk – pick an analogy, but no matter how you slice it, these guys are done.



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user ratings (46)
Chart.
2.5
average
other reviews of this album
ZackSh33 (3)
The Goo Goo Dolls stay the same, but so what?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2013


16962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Review is admittedly a little rant-ish, but hopefully it gets the point across.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2013


10593 Comments


must be summertime if sowingseason is on the review path

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2013


16962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Second day in a row, I'm a machine!

Ire
June 11th 2013


41829 Comments


(yeah!)

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2013


8026 Comments


Band sounds nothing like they did when they were at their peak but sure

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2013


16962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Are you kidding? Sure, they've changed a few things here and there but they are one of the most static bands I've ever heard.

CK
June 11th 2013


4953 Comments


Seriously, this band is still a thing?

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2013


8026 Comments


I mean they have clearly been the same band but Gutterflower and before is clearly different from what they've released since, mostly because Let Love In and such is so focused on being positive and mellower (by GGD standards anyway). When they started they were basically a Replacements cover band that sounds zero percent like they do now, but they haven't sounded like that in almost 20 years.



SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2013


16962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Well yeah they don't sound like they did approx. 20 years ago, but I'd say Dizzy Up The Girl and on they've pretty much been the same, and that's going on 15 years. They've definitely mellowed out, but that hardly constitutes change, especially when it's just them being them but in a more boring fashion.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2013


8026 Comments


I mean, at this point, they exist to play their hits live, so it doesn't really matter what they release. I've adored this band since I was a kid but I don't listen to anything they've done since Gutterflower because it is so much further into the mom rock realm where every damn song is a love song and Reznik forgot or stopped caring about writing remotely interesting lyrics.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2013


16962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah agreed there...I was a huge fan back in the day but everything after Let Love In is worthless, and even a good chunk of that album wasn't all that great.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2013


8026 Comments


Superstar Car Wash to Gutterflower was and is ace though, A Boy Named Goo will always be a favorite album

ZackSh33
June 11th 2013


371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I miss the good ol' days of Gutterflower, Dizzy Up the Girl, and A Boy Named Goo. But there's really no chance of that ever happening again. Hopefully we're not stuck with the same stuff from these guys from here on out

ZackSh33
June 11th 2013


371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

also you and I have a similar opinion of these guys and on this album, I just think they have a couple of decent hooks on this thing. "Happiest of Days" is really surprisingly good for a Robby Takac track.

YoYoMancuso
June 11th 2013


11224 Comments


nice review, still love when these guys show up on my '90s satellite radio channel.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2013


11843 Comments


HA that summary

Digging: Rishloo - Living as Ghosts with Buildings as Teeth

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2013


31634 Comments


Just counting down the days to the Yellowcard acoustic review. I'm literally sitting on the edge of my seat; what will drop first - the review, or me? Stay tuned!

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

breakingthefragile
June 12th 2013


2966 Comments


Awesome to see reviews from you again Sowing! I'm more apathetic about this album than I thought I would be.

Digging: Molly Drake - Molly Drake

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2013


16962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

lol Deviant, I knew you would be! ; ) (side note, nice to see you back too...I could be wrong, but in my limited visits this spring you were largely absent)

Thanks YoYo and Fragile



omnipanzer
June 12th 2013


21661 Comments


Honestly had no idea they had made anything since "Dizzy Up The Girl". Another downside of having a hit?

Good review I enjoyed a few of your turns of phrase.



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