Goo Goo Dolls, The – Dizzy Up the Girl
Record Label: Warner Bros.
Release Date: September 22nd 1998
Does anyone remember the show The Next Great American Band? If you said no, you’re not alone, most likely. This was a show created by the producers of American Idol, but a full band version, where bands could audition and have the chance to become the next great American band. Well, I bring this show up, because Goo Goo Dolls frontman Jonny Rzeznik was a judge on the show, and that’s my first experience with the band, or at least, him. He was a good judge, but I never listened to his music past that, considering I wasn’t really into a lot of music at the time, anyway. Now that I’m older, and my music taste expanded a lot more, my friend recommended this album to me, mainly because the band’s most popular track “Iris” is on here. The track first gained a lot of recognition for being on the soundtrack to the film The City of Angels in 1998, the same year the record Dizzy Up the Girl was released. This song is easily the best song on the record, because it’s just absolutely “epic,” for the lack of a better word. It sounds very spacious, very huge, and shows the band off at their best. This record is rather straightforward pop-rock and alternative rock, and in all honesty, it has an interesting quality of sounding slightly dated, but the lasting value is through the roof, because of “Iris,” mainly. Of course this wouldn’t be a good review if I only spoke about that track, right? There aren’t too many things I don’t like about this record, actually. I did say it sounds slightly dated, in the sense that you can tell this is late 90s alternative rock, because that’s what was popular at the time, along with boy bands and all that other stuff. There is only one thing that rather rustles my bow tie about this record, and that’s bassist Robby Takac to sing on a few tracks. He takes lead vocals for a few tracks, and he’s a good bassist, but his voice is absolutely irritating, in all honesty. I’ll get to that more in a bit, but that’s not enough for me to hate this record. I don’t hate it whatsoever, and in fact, it’s completely the opposite. I adore it, so let’s dizzy up this album, and take a look at it, shall we?
The record starts off with “Dizzy,” and the song is kind of representative of the entire record, because it’s quite straightforward, Rzeznik’s vocals are passionate and raw (but never underwhelming or over the top), and lyrically, it’s quite nice, too. It’s got a nice hook, and it works quite well as an album opener. With straightforward records, there is one downside, and that’s some songs tend to just fall to the wayside, because other ones hit a lot harder. That’s how this record works, and aside from “Iris,” there are other tracks that hit quite hard, including third track “Broadway.” This song has really emotional lyrics, such as “You see, you'd love to run home, but you know you ain't got one. Cuz you're livin' in a world that you're best forgotten, around here.” The way Rzeznik sings these lyrics just absolutely gets to me in the best way possible. Next track “January Friend” is one of the few tracks where bassist Robby Takac takes lead vocals, and well, to say the least I don’t like his voice. It just sounds rather grating to me, but the song isn’t terrible. It’s just Takac’s vocals are rather irritating. As the record goes on, he only appears in a couple more songs, and next track “Black Balloon” makes up for this rather excruciating track by being a very stripped down acoustic ballad, kind of like “Iris,” only a bit more stripped down.
The middle of the record is where things start to slip a little bit, however. There aren’t too many tracks within the middle that really grip me, but that’s okay, because it is the middle, so filler tracks are a commonplace in records. The record doesn’t pick up again until “Acoustic #3.” This is a very short little acoustic song (obviously) that appears during the last third of the record, and it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s a nice short song that seems like a teaser to “Iris,” which appears a bit after that, and that’s where the record shines. This song is absolutely perfect, to be honest. It’s one of the best songs in existence, and has some of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard, too. Chances are, this is the first song you think of when you hear The Goo Goo Dolls being mentioned. And it’s for good reason, too. Of course, though, there are a couple more tracks on this record after that. If this record ended with “Iris,” that would’ve been the perfect ending, but it’s okay that there are a couple more tracks. They don’t really live up to “Iris,” but it’s okay. Either way, the record does end nicely, because “Iris” is almost at the tail end of the record, so you have something to look forward to.
I absolutely adore this record, but I will admit it gets a bit stale at certain points, and the only songs that really bring it down are the ones with Takac taking lead vocals. His voice is nowhere near as wonderful as Rzeznik’s, and that’s the thing, their voices don’t compliment each other’s, so it ultimately falls a bit short. However, with songs like “Iris,” and “Broadway,” that criticism can be overlooked.