970 - Goo Goo Dolls 'Dizzy Up The Girl' (1998)

My Rating: 2.08 out of 5
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: X
Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums: X
The Mojo Collection: X

Chart Peak (UK/US): 47/15

Favourite Tracks: Bullet Proof, Dizzy
Least-Favourite Track: Amigone

Back in the days when my connection with music actually involved performing it, rather than lounging around pompously pontificating about it, I'd occasionally attend musical instrument shows. There'd always be some demo band assembled by the instrument manufacturers & they'd run through a set of songs designed to show off the shiny new guitars, keyboards & effects. The music would always be slick, polished & textbook; not a note or beat out of place, everything perfectly as it should be according to the 'rules' of the genre. And that just made it all rather hollow & characterless.

So I've listened to this album several times now & it reminds me of one of those music show demo groups every time. Everything feels a bit formulaic; a sort of 'alt-rock-by-numbers' that's been designed precisely for maximum mainstream appeal. Just the right amount of guitar distortion, just a touch of gravel in the voice, a few power ballads peppered around, here comes the big chorus, there goes the hook. Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly acceptable rock record - the songs are fine, the playing is fine, the production is fine - it's just missing a certain something.

For a start, it's treading very familiar ground - there's a sense of 'where have I heard that before' on every track. You won't find any surprises lurking anywhere either. I got all excited when one of the tracks started with a bizarre time signature, but amusingly it turned out that it was just a glitch on the MP3. The album tended to wash over me & I even had trouble doing my song ratings because every time a track ended I couldn't really remember much about it. Lyrically it's poor - anthemic choruses with the words 'Hold on / Dream away / You're my sweet charade' (Hate This Place) or cheesy lines like 'Cry / Don't cry out loud / You've gotta bear your cross but never dream too loud' (January Friend) may have the sales reps singing along thumping the steering wheels of their Mondeos, but just leave me totally cold. It's okay but it's no classic - just another album that was a big hit when the Top 1000 list was compiled.


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