Someone, somewhere, at some point soon will reinvigorate rock. He, she, or they will hotwire the fundamental guitar-drums-hooks formula and make us hear and feel the music in a fresh and original way. Alas, the Goo Goo Dolls are not that band. All they want to do is turn up their guitars and crank out three-minute power punk. Or, sometimes, turn down their guitars and emote grandiose, achy-breaky-heart ballads–like “Iris,” their hit from the City of Angels soundtrack, also included on the Goos’ sixth album, Dizzy Up the Girl.
A decade ago, the Goos were a quirk-free, if amiable, rip-off of early college-radio bands like the Replacements. Judging by Dizzy (and its predecessor, A Boy Named Goo, which gave them their breakthrough hit, “Name”), their new role models appear to be Bryan Adams and Poison. From the former, they’ve taken the key elements of the power-chord fist pumper, while the Goos’ softer moments–“Iris” and “Black Balloon”–recall the hair-metal power ballads of yore, albeit with less mousse. Lozenge-challenged bassist Robby Takac’s punky toss-offs don’t leave much of an impression, but singer-guitarist Johnny Rzeznik knows more than a thing or two about hooks, judging by the urgent pull of “All Eyes on Me” and the rousing chorus of “Broadway.” And few bands are still so in love with the sound of the guitar, judging by the layers of clear-as-spring-water six- and twelve-strings that swamp these songs.
It all adds up to perfectly professional, radio-friendly mainstream rock that wiggles its way into one ear, dawdles and tantalizes for a few minutes, and then quickly leaves the other. That’s hardly a rousing endorsement, but the been-there-heard-that factor of Dizzy Up the Girl doesn’t engender much more enthusiasm. Until the next exciting thing comes along, Dizzy Up the Girl stands as an unintentional monument to the stasis that’s gripping rock itself.