Commuter Music: ‘Magnetic,’ the Goo Goo Dolls

googoodolls-magneticSome rock bands gradually evolve into mainstream pop and lose their originality and conviction over time. Others manage to shift with time while, producing fresh music and not scaring away old fans. The Goo Goo Dolls, founded in 1986, is one of those bands that successfully cultivated a unique rock sound during its 29-year run without alienating its original following. The band’s tenth album, “Magnetic,” is a great example of the Goo Goo Dolls’ ability to tweak its grunge-y, alternative sound to appeal to the 2000s mainstream audience without losing the light angst and sensitive songwriting that made the Goo Goo Dolls so popular in the 90s rock scene.

The basics: This album is a lighter — but still angsty — addition to the Goo Goo Dolls’ record. Most punk elements from the Goo Goo Dolls’ earlier albums are gone, but the blend of acoustic and fast-paced, guitar-led tracks composing the older albums still weaves through “Magnetic.”

Why it’s good: The album isn’t too intense, but is gentle on the ears and uses more piano and synthesizers than some of the Goo Goo Dolls’ earlier albums.

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Recommendations: I like this album for pretty much any commute. It’s a good one for listening to throughout the day, it has just the right balance of light and dark tracks.

The Rundown: The first track, “Rebel Beat,” sets the tone for “Magnetic”: carefree, buoyant, and fast-paced. From there the Goo Goo Dolls unpacks a few more of their precise, perceptive love songs for which the band is so well-known. The top ones on “Magnetic” include “When The World Breaks Your Heart,” “Slow It Down,” “Come To Me,” and “BulletProofAngel.” Frontman John Rzeznik continues to sing of desperate love in “Keep The Car Running,” clinging to the woman who saves him in “Caught In The Storm,” but never to the point that his earnest emotion becomes sappy or unavailing.

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