Goo Goo Dolls
A Boy Named Goo


5.0
classic

Review

by Josh Fountain CONTRIBUTOR (63 Reviews)
January 31st, 2014 | 64 replies | 2,100 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio, and I won't tell no one your name"

The Goo Goo Dolls were kings of the world in 1998, riding a high off the tracks “Iris” and “Slide”. Dizzy Up The Girl were nearly unavoidable, with songs being in almost constant rotation. The truth is, however, by the time Dizzy Up The Girl was released, The Goo Goo Dolls had already peaked. A Boy Named Goo, released in 1996, showed the perfect melding of their earlier, punk inspired stylings with the adult alternative style that made them radio darlings. Johnny Reznik is obviously the main draw of The Goo Goo Dolls and A Boy Named Goo. He has an uncanny ability to get the most of his three talents: his ear for guitar melody, a charismatic and formidable vocal range, and a knack for clever lyrics. It is a wonder that after Reznik came into his own on Superstar Car Wash that the band ever let bassist Robby Takic sing songs again. Reznik carries each and every song in some way or another; even the tracks with Takic on vocals are held together entirely by Reznik’s guitar playing.

There are three bad songs on A Boy Named Goo. Yes, Takic is the vocalist for every single one of them. His vocals seemingly force the band to write in a way that causes them to repeat the same beats and as a result all of Takic’s songs are basically interchangeable. Luckily the Reznik tracks so often hit ridiculous high points that it doesn’t matter what the Takic songs sound like. The Takic songs could be nothing but progressive polka and for some reason it doesn’t affect the overall quality of the album. Songs like “Flat Top” and “Ain’t That Unusual” are so perfectly composed that when they end and a Takic song rears its ugly head, the listener is too busy basking in the afterglow to care. It is odd to think that the quality of a quarter of the songs on an album don’t matter, but they truly have no effect on the overall product. It is most likely because the great songs force the listener to play them on repeat over and over, then moving on to the next flawless song, playing that to death, and so on and so forth. The worst (best?) song for this is “Name”.

“Name” is quite possibly the most impeccable song ever written. Captivating lyrics meld the cynicism of the world beating a man into submission with an everlasting sense of love and affection. Reznik imbues every line with sincerity and incredible passion, for example the ending lyrics ”I think about you all the time, but I don’t need the same. It’s lonely where you are, come back down, and I won’t tell ‘em your name.” The instrumental progression, with the backbone being a rather unique guitar line that serves to accentuate the emotions coming from the lyrics. Every moment in the song is built to elicit emotion, not least of which is the bridge, which contains an acoustic solo of sorts, building up a crescendo before ending on a quiet, somber note, an immaculate ending to an immaculate song.

A Boy Named Goo is not a perfect album. There are blemishes, cracks in the glass. The Goo Goo Dolls have been cast aside as nothing more than a sappy 90s band, and in certain instances that is accurate. However, at the same time, they were more significant than that. They were deeper lyrically, more complex instrumentally. They were more complicated. They defined themselves by their flaws, bore them like scars in their songs. Perhaps that is what makes A Boy Named Goo infinitely more than the sum of its parts. It is in those issues that an emotional connection could be made. There are “objectively better” albums, ones that push boundaries in music, or make a person rethink their life. Sometimes though, an album crops up over the course of life that latches on, warts and all, and that album grows and changes with a person, becoming more important as the years go on. For this reviewer, A Boy Named Goo is that album.



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user ratings (174)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Porter W. Richards (4)
The best Goo Goo Dolls work by far; features instant classics, but the singers switch off too often ...

Joe Shadduck (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Green Baron
January 31st 2014



17635 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"A Boy Named Goo is not a perfect album."

Yer damn right it ain't.



Digging: Rise Against - The Black Market

Green Baron
January 31st 2014



17635 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Superstar Car Wash > Dizzy > this for me

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2014



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album melds the sensibilities at the forefront of those two albums perfectly

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2014



19381 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

very unexpected review, but probably one of your best

Digging: Musk Ox - Woodfall

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 31st 2014



17195 Comments


*insert Kinky Kelly and the Sexy Stud scene from Clerks 2.gif*


Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2014



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you Atari. I was stuck on this review forever, trying to think of the more "traditional" ways of explaining why this album is a classic to me, and then I just said to hell with it and decided to highlight the flaws and then admit that the flaws don't matter

DarkRecollections
January 31st 2014



31 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

their best album for sure

Green Baron
January 31st 2014



17635 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I gotta say I prefer their more punk-influenced records over their popular ones, but they're still alright. Band fell off after Dizzy

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2014



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I like Gutterflower as much as Dizzy

could care less about everything after though

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
January 31st 2014



11566 Comments


band is underappreciated i think

Digging: Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

BigHans
January 31st 2014



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rules hard dont care what anyone says

zakalwe
January 31st 2014



6399 Comments


Band is shite. Fact.

BigHans
January 31st 2014



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There are three bad songs on A Boy Named Goo. Yes, Takic is the vocalist for every single one of them.

^ This so hard. Been saying that for years.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2014



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I knew you'd appreciate this review Hans

BigHans
January 31st 2014



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Aint That Unusual is one of the most underrated jams of the 90s

Green Baron
January 31st 2014



17635 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"The worst (best?) song force this is “Name”.

I think you mean 'for' instead of force.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2014



19381 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you Atari. I was stuck on this review forever, trying to think of the more "traditional" ways of explaining why this album is a classic to me, and then I just said to hell with it and decided to highlight the flaws and then admit that the flaws don't matter


sure thing man. I'll admit I was a little confused as I started the 2nd paragraph, but you did a good job justifying why those weaker tracks don't hinder the overall listening experience. Haven't jammed this in forever I should change that



Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2014



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ain't That Unusual, Flat Top, Naked, Long Way Down, Eyes Wide Open, so many awesome tracks on here

BigHans
January 31st 2014



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Name was an absolutely massive radio song.

BigHans
January 31st 2014



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its a shame Reznik didnt sing Burning Up as it would have been a great song, has a good hook, its just Robbies voice ruins it



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