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New Music Review: GOO GOO DOLLS “A Boy Named Goo” (20th Anniversary Edition)

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A Boy Named Goo 20th AnniversaryTracklisting:

1. Long Way Down
2. Burnin’ Up
3. Naked
4. Flat Top
5. Impersonality
6. Name
7. Only One
8. Somethin’ Bad
9. Ain’t That Unusual
10. So Long
11. Eyes Wide Open
12. Disconnected
13. Slave Girl
14. Long Way Down*
15. Name*
16. Naked*
17. Impersonality*
18. Million Miles Away* (Plimsouls cover)
19. Don’t Change* (INXS cover)
20. Flat Top*

*Previously unreleased, live, all from The Academy, New York, NY 11/21/95

Review-20 years ago, grunge was starting to fade away, nu-metal was peaking in the door and punk was seeing a pop resurgence thanks to bands like Rancid, Offspring and Green Day who found mainstream success. Somewhere between Alanis Morrisette going down on her ex in a theater and PJ Harvey was asking fish to bring back her daughter, the Goo Goo Dolls released A Boy Named Goo. At first people thought it was a play on the Sonic Youth record Goo, but as people found out this band was not a Sonic Youth clone. The band struggled for years and at the time their label Metal Blade was struggling to find out how to market this band. The oddest thing happen, somehow or another the song “ Name” found modern rock radio and became a smash. I always found this record as the litmus paper for bands like Nada Surf and Tonic to try and put out this catchy sound but yet stick to their guns as well. Now I will say, A Boy Named Goo no matter what you think is a career defining record. 20 years later and this is the record people will cite as the high the band has had, even though the chart hits and records did not stop after this, but this is the one that everyone has the “ first time I heard it” stories. I will admit I own Dizzy Up The Girl and it is the biggest sell out record ever. It was a pathetic attempt at trying to capitalize on this formula they tapped into. A Boy Named Goo is just pure heart and soul garage rock with a unique sound that at the time was what music fans wanted.

The guitar on this cd is just raw, each riff sounds like it was meant to be on this record. There is no filler on this entire record. One of my favorite songs ever by this band was “ Long Way Down” which was the selling point to me. It is just such a great opening song with those loud guitar riffs and just passion all over the place in display. The album is not perfect, but it is good. One of the main problems I had with early Goo Goo Dolls is the Robby Takac and Johnny Rzeznik switching off. It is like the album was trying to find an identity at times. Where I felt a band like the GIn Blossoms should have succeeded past their few year run, the Goo Goo Dolls did succeed. Mostly in part to Johnny’s vocals and that it all seems to spawn from this record today. Where this record is rock, everything they did after falls into the soft rock fodder that your parents would love but you beg them to change the channel. This record today is such a masterpiece, and is so much a part of my musical journey in life that I can always remember where and when I first heard the first song off this record.

8 out of 10

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