A Boy Named Goo

A Boy Named Goo

It took five albums for the Goo Goo Dolls to break into the mainstream – but once they did, the results were spectacular. The scrappy Buffalo trio turned A Boy Named Goo (1995) into a tour-de-force of working class frustration, wounded idealism and hard-won grace. Remarkably, the band took a steady-eyed shot at big-time success without compromising its underlying bash-and-thrash ethic and hit the jackpot on its own terms. Singer/guitarist John Rzeznik applies his raw-throated yowl to the best set of shout-along pop/rockers of the band’s career, wringing spasms of feeling out of “Long Down,” “Only One” and similar hard-pop tunes. Bassist Robby Takac’s less-abrasive vocals lend “Burnin’ Up” and “Somethin’ Bad” a touch of honey to balance the sonic vinegar. The band careens its way through anthemic ballads like “Ain’t That Unusual” and nicely nasty rockers like “Slave Girl” with roughneck delight. The throbbing heart of the album is “Name,” a melancholy rock aria sung by Rzeznik with hit-making bravura. A Boy Named Goo seethes with the sort of brazen yet naïve ambition that only a gang of street punks could muster, resulting in an unexpected commercial and artistic triumph.

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