Let Love In

Studio Album by released in 2006

Let Love In review

Collection of strong songs akin to the band’s glory days of Dizzy Up The Girl

The Goo Goo Dolls were formed in Buffalo, NY, in 1985 by guitarist/vocalist Johnny Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac, and drummer George Tutuska, initially under the name the Sex Maggots (the new name was chosen from an ad in True Detective magazine at the behest of a local club owner). Early in their career, the Goo Goo Dolls were frequently dismissed by critics as mere imitators of the Replacements; however, the band refined and mainstreamed their sound enough to become of the most popular adult alternative rock bands of the latter half of the '90s, selling millions of records. A string of hits such as Name and Iris made them an overnight sensation on the pop charts. But after a mediocre and somewhat sterile showing with 2002’s Gutterflower, singer and songwriter Johnny Rzeznik moved back to Buffalo from Los Angeles and suddenly began to write good songs again. The result is Let Love In, the Goo Goo Dolls’ latest release, and while it doesn’t go too far into their punk roots, Rzeznik and company have found their batting stroke again with a collection of strong pop/rock songs akin to the band’s glory days of Dizzy Up The Girl.

Trademark mix of stylized arena-rock guitars and huge romantic choruses

New album from the Goo Goo Dolls outfits their trademark mix of stylized arena-rock guitars and huge romantic choruses with subtle atmospherics and a bright pop sheen. Stay With You is formulaic, but it follows the same formula that has worked for these guys as well as their modern guitar pop brethren, Train. The title track is even catchier, and has the same dark undertone that made Dizzy Up The Girl an instant smash among popsters and alt-rockers alike eight years ago. There are two songs on here that were released as early singles – Better Days, the hopeful anthem that was used by CNN and others in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and an adequate version of Supertramp’s Give a Little Bit. As with every Goo Goo Dolls’ record, you’ve got your share of songs written and sung by bassist Robby Takac. Takac has the kind of nasally, clown-like voice you just wish would go away, but this time around his songs are really good, especially the driving rocker Listen. Other standouts are the blissful Without You Here and the bitter yet triumphant Can’t Let It Go. On Let Love In we do find the Goo Goo Dolls covering more "ballad" type songs, but don't worry, the band hasn't quite hit matchbox 20 levels yet. Johnny Rzeznik's singing still has that smooth but tear-soaked quality that made hits out of Iris and Black Balloon.

The Goo Goo Dolls brought us a solid set of well-crafted rock tunes with Let Love In

Fans turned off by Gutterflower's mediocrity will no doubt be happy with the songs on Let Love In. To put simply, this album was made for radio, much like Dizzy Up The Girl. The writing here is great, with a lot of hopefulness. Actually, the title of the Goo Goo Dolls' new album can be taken somewhat literally: Let Love In is a welcoming collection of songs that eschews some of the darker currents roiling under the surface of Gutterflower. Thanks in no small part to Glen Ballard – who made his name as the man behind Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill and then went on to sand down the rough edges of Aerosmith, Live, and the Dave Matthews Band, and performs the same task here – this is the sound of a mainstream adult rock band, a band that knows their craft. It's easy listening music for a generation raised on rock, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Frontman Johnny Rzeznik remains a solid journeyman rocker, as both a writer and singer. The Goo Goo Dolls have remained rock star cool and brought us a solid set of well-crafted rock tunes with Let Love In. Welcome back, gentlemen!