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Goo Goo Dolls - Chaos In Bloom (Album Review)

Tuesday, 16 August 2022 Written by Simon Ramsay

Photo: Claire Marie Vogel

John Rzeznik recently told Spin: “I don’t care about genres of music, I care about hooks.” From their formative punk days and mid-90s guitar driven rock to turn of the century mainstream anthemics and a recent brush with contemporary pop, when the Goo Goo Dolls imperious refrains strike the target, as they do with unswerving accuracy here, it’s hard to get bent out of shape about their stylistic evolution.

Most bands have hardcore fans who berate them for abandoning their early sound, adopting a more accessible pose and having the nerve to become successful. It’s the nature of the beast. But Rzeznik and long time partner, bassist and co-vocalist Robby Takac, have always known when they’ve worn out their welcome and, armed with an arsenal of melodic bombs to smooth the transition, need to embark on a new trajectory.

Following hit (‘Miracle Pill’) and miss (‘Boxes’) forays into the world of studio produced pop, ‘Chaos In Bloom’ harks back to the Buffalo duo’s beloved post-millennium period and finds their textured blend of acoustic and electric guitars back to the forefront on a defiantly upbeat record.  

Yeah, I Like You is a vibrant sugar rush about falling for a superficial faker, while War’s string-powered battle cry whips up a tumultuous romantic struggle and Going Crazy unleashes a ‘Magnetic’-era fusion of six-string muscle and pop textures.

Every element of the band’s soulful and sensitive modern rock aesthetic, from moody middle eights and rhythmic puissance to the tension and release they build via instinctive modulations, is employed to ensure those hooks take flight. Rzeznik’s weathered, old soul rasp, meanwhile, never fails to raise an army of goosebumps as he delivers ascending chorus after ascending chorus.

On Save Me From Myself, a dynamic number that features a rare duet between the band’s two singers, they pull off a shimmering slow burn refrain that counterpoints its balladeering beginnings and spring-heeled verses. Both Loving Life, a song full of unbridled existential euphoria, and Past Mistakes, built on a classic new wave riff, are Takac gems with a twist, melding his nuanced vocals and melodic smarts with beaming harmonies and nicely woven key changes. 

Although strong, the record does falter towards the end. Day After Day is unremarkable and their decision to finish with two piano-based ballads (You’re The Answer couldn’t be more Beatles if it was penned by John and Paul) seems strange for a group who, judging by Keep The Car Running and Truth Is A Whisper, have always been great at ending with a bang.      

It might not be a match for ‘Gutterflower’ or ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ but, with flaws more cosmetic than deal-breaking, ‘Chaos In Bloom’ is a much needed blast of feelgood sunshine that can comfortably stand alongside those efforts without feeling like a poor relation. And that only confirms Rzeznik’s commitment to the art of the hook. 

Goo Goo Dolls Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue August 16 2022 - BOSTON Massachusetts - Leader Bank Pavilion (USA)
Wed August 17 2022 - VIENNA - Wolf Trap Farm (USA)
Fri August 19 2022 - SARATOGA SPRINGS New York - Saratoga Performing Arts Center (USA)
Sat August 20 2022 - WANTAGH New York - Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater (USA)
Sun August 21 2022 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - TD Pavilion at the Mann (USA)
Tue August 23 2022 - RALEIGH North Carolina - Red Hat Amphitheater (USA)
Wed August 24 2022 - JACKSONVILLE - Dailys Place Amphitheater (USA)
Fri August 26 2022 - CHARLOTTE North Carolina - Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre (USA)
Sat August 27 2022 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Ascend Amphitheater (USA)
Sun August 28 2022 - ATLANTA Georgia - Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park (USA)
Tue August 30 2022 - SUGAR LAND Texas - Smart Financial Centre (USA)
Wed August 31 2022 - IRVING Texas - Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory (USA)
Fri September 02 2022 - LOS ANGELES - Greek Theatre - Los Angeles (USA)
Sat September 03 2022 - SANTA BARBARA California - Santa Barbara Bowl (USA)
Sun September 04 2022 - STANFORD California - Frost Amphitheatre (USA)
Mon September 12 2022 - WAITE PARK Minnesota - Ledge Waite Park Amphitheater (USA)
Tue September 13 2022 - CEDAR RAPIDS Iowa - McGrath Amphitheatre (USA)
Thu September 15 2022 - GRAND RAPIDS Michigan - Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater (USA)
Sat September 17 2022 - OKLAHOMA CITY - OKC Zoo Amphitheatre (USA)
Sun September 18 2022 - ROGERS Arkansas - Walmart AMP (USA)
Tue September 20 2022 - DOSWELL Virginia - Meadow Event Park (USA)
Wed September 21 2022 - TOLEDO Ohio - Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre (USA)
Thu September 22 2022 - PITTSBURGH Pennsylvania - Stage AE (USA)
Sat September 24 2022 - BUFFALO New York - KeyBank Center (USA)
Fri October 28 2022 - EAU CLAIRE Wisconsin - Pablo Center at the Confluence (USA)
Sun October 30 2022 - AMES Iowa - Stephens Auditorium (USA)
Wed November 02 2022 - MILWAUKEE Wisconsin - Pabst Theater (USA)
Thu November 03 2022 - APPLETON Wisconsin - Fox Cities PAC (USA)
Sat November 05 2022 - ROCKFORD Illinois - Coronado Performing Arts Center (USA)
Sun November 06 2022 - FORT WAYNE Indiana - Embassy Theatre (USA)
Mon November 07 2022 - SOUTH BEND Indiana - Morris Performing Arts Center (USA)
Wed November 09 2022 - LOUISVILLE Kentucky - Louisville Palace (USA)
Fri November 11 2022 - SALINA Kansas - Stiefel Theatre (USA)
Sat November 12 2022 - CATOOSA Oklahoma - Hard Rock Live - Tulsa (USA)
Mon November 14 2022 - AUSTIN Texas - Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater (USA)
Tue November 15 2022 - SAN ANTONIO Texas - HEB Performance Hall at Tobin Center (USA)
Wed November 16 2022 - LUBBOCK Texas - Helen DeVitt Jones Theater At The Buddy Holly Hall (USA)
Fri November 18 2022 - ALBUQUERQUE New Mexico - Kiva Auditorium at the Albuquerque Convention Center (USA)
Sun November 20 2022 - EL PASO Texas - Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center (USA)

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