As I sit here in my quickly emptying bedroom at my current apartment (I’m packing to move to a place closer to town in a couple of days), the music filling the air feels somehow appropriate. I always found myself moving around a lot at my younger ages; having gone to a handful or two of middle and high schools before finally graduating and heading on to college. Since I graduated high school, I’ve lived in at least four different places within the span of three some odd years. The only things that followed me through all of those ‘homes’ were a small collection of books, and my ever-burgeoning album collection that has lived in various cases and incarnations.
I’ve been a Goo Goo Dolls fan since back when I first got my hands on a copy of Superstar Car Wash was new and edgy, and I became a devout stalwart the first time I heard “Iris,” in the film City Of Angels. Just the immediacy in Reznik’s words and voice; it really spoke to me at that diffident age of barely being a teenager. The four year span between the releases of ’98’s masterpiece Dizzy Up The Girl, and 2002’s Gutterfloweralmost did me in, and on top of that the only truly great track on the latter was the too-short “Sympathy.” The misstep of Gutterflower was followed up by the filler release of the CD/DVD combo Live In Buffalo, and two years later, Let Love In finally arrives.
The Goo Goo Dolls have always happened to speak to me at their different stages of development, and somehow seemed to parallel my own life. Through all my moves, all the places I’ve been, their music had been a shifting constant in my life at different times. Along with Dizzy Up The Girl‘s confidence,I was confident in my own life when I first heard it. Happily sliding through high school, I seemed to know what I was doing, and I was having a good time doing it. When Gutterflower came, I was ending my high school run, and the confusion of the period and lack of direction seemed somehow unknowingly mirrored in the songs that I found there. It is with my own newly found sense of stumbling direction, knee-deep in college and (hopefully) finally beginning to figure things out that I happen upon the latest Goo Goo Dolls release.
Let Love In is the sound of a good band that has finally, I hate to say plateaued, but reached a level of quality and comfort that can only come with maturation and experience. Gone is the vivacious intensity of A Boy Named Goo, and Dizzy Up The Girl, and what is there now is a more stable sensibility; still passionate, but aged to the other side of the spectrum, where you look back upon it all with that knowing sense of hindsight. I find it comparable to recent releases Healthy In Paranoid Times by Our Lady Peace, and U2’s How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. They’re all the products of good, experienced bands, making good, solid music from the other side of their youth. Not revolutionary, but evolutionary. On this album, a more peaceful Rzenik & Co. are present, with prevalent themes of love (look no further than the title), and peace exude from the tracks. It’s an appeal to the world to be heard one more time, with a message worth singing about, and I hope you’ll give it a chance to be heard. From the album opening rocker “Stay With You,” all the way to the beautiful ending “Become,” Let Love In is just the Goo Goo Dolls doing what they really seem to do best; making good music.