After 21 years in the music business The Goo Goo Dolls released their first true greatest hits collection last week entitled Greatest Hits Volume 1: The Singles. The CD is a showcase of all the band’s chart topping singles from their breakthrough hit “Name” to their latest from the “Transformers” soundtrack entitled “Before It’s Too Late.” Fans will notice that other then “Name” there is nothing from any of the bands albums before 1998’s Dizzy Up The Girl included on the album. This is intentional, however, as the band plans to release a second volume early next year that will include B-sides and rare tracks that they hope will complete the portrait of one of pop music’s biggest bands.Even though it is a straightforward greatest hits collection, Volume 1 does contain a few surprises including a newly recorded version of “Name” and a remixed version of “Feel the Silence.” These two tracks really aren’t any better then the original versions of the songs, however. “Name” is essentially the same song it once was but with a shorter intro and an older Johnny Rzeznik on vocals. The original version also sounds a little rougher around the edges and less polished then the new version which added to its charm. There has been some speculation that The Goo Goo Dolls felt the need to redo “Name” due to a dispute with their old label Metal Blade Records, which originally released the song, but neither side will comment on the matter. As for “Feel The Silence,” the remix really isn’t all that much different then the version that first appeared on their last album, 2006’s Let Love In. The only track on this collection that most Goo Goo Doll’s fans don’t already own, or own a better version of is “Before It’s Too Late,” which until now had only appeared on the soundtrack to this past summer’s “Transformers.” “Before It’s Too Late” isn’t a bad song. Its very instep with how the band’s sound has evolved lately. If you enjoyed Let Love In and appreciate the band’s softer side then this song is sure to please you.
The rest of the tracks contained on Volume 1 include the band’s biggest hit to date “Iris” from the “City of Angels” soundtrack. Anyone who listened to pop radio in 1997 could attest to the massive popularity of this song which spent a record 18 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. The song was virtually inescapable yet it never seemed to get played out. Even as it concludes Volume 1, a decade after its initial release, the song still makes you want to stop and listen. Let Love In is represented here by the title track, “Better Days,” the aforementioned “Feel The Silence” and the highlight of that album, the rocking “Stay With You.” 2002’s Gutterflower has three tracks on Volume 1: “Here Is Gone,” “Sympathy” and “Big Machine,” which Rzeznik has described as his “disco song.” Dizzy Up The Girl is the band’s most represented album here featuring, if you count “Iris,” five songs. These songs are fan favorite “Dizzy,” the mournful “Black Balloon,” “Broadway” and “Slide.”
In 2001, the band released a career retrospective album entitled What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce. This album ignored The Goo Goo Dolls’ hits in favor of songs that better represent who the band is and where they came from. This was a great collection and a very helpful way to help catch fans up who had just learned of the band following the multiplatinum success of Dizzy Up The Girl. It features tracks from all of their albums to that point and now works as an interesting counterpoint to the hit’s heavy Volume 1. When placed together they help to show the remarkable development of The Goo Goo Dolls from 80s heavy metal rockers to one of alternative rock’s biggest bands.
Overall Greatest Hits Volume 1: The Singles is geared more for the casual Goo Goo Dolls fan as opposed to the more avid follower who already owns most of the songs contained on it. If you want a more accurate portrait of the band then make sure to pick up What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce as well. The forthcoming Greatest Hits Volume 2 will help to complete this collection and offer fans the full Goo Goo Dolls experience.
Colin McGlinchey is a third-year student majoring in elementary education. He can be reached at CM646588@wcupa.edu.