In light of today’s divisive political and social climate, it is very refreshing to hear the music of a new album from some old faces that can bring people together. The Goo Goo Dolls are certainly no strangers to reminding people that music is indeed what molds us — as human beings — into one unified people. It seems as if their new album, “Miracle Pill,” came out just in time to allow their fans and other listeners to escape the troubles we face today by reflecting upon the beauty and complexity of love, life and death. The album features 11 tracks that flow well together, along with three singles.
In the album’s first track (the third single), “Indestructible”, John Rzeznik and company introduce a very uplifting song about two young lovers who feel — as the title suggests — invincible together after having felt broken alone. Next, the band digs into more pop beats with the songs “Fearless” and “Miracle Pill.” Though the chorus of “Fearless” sounds light, and the song is about someone who doesn’t give up on life and fights to find happiness, the lyrics have deep meaning. The words from verse two, for example, “I can’t be myself if I’m hiding / And if I’m not living, I’m dying / I can’t feel / What I don’t know” sound very depressing and troubling. I found the title track to be, perhaps, the best in the album, because it deals with very relevant issues. It represents America’s drug epidemic — concerning opioids and Adderall — and the causes of addiction. The song sounds uplifting at first, but becomes more unsettling and even disturbing when you think about the real word significance.
The two tracks “Money, Fame, & Fortune” and “Lost” effectively mix the classic Goo Goo Dolls sound from older tracks like “Name” with the new pop touch of “Miracle Pill.” They illustrate the band’s evolution.
But this album is not perfect, or even groundbreaking. The two songs with bassist Robby Takac on main vocals are easily forgettable. They don’t offer much besides Takac’s raspy voice that may haunt you after you’re done listening. The song “Lights” is another breakup/love song that contains more generic pop than usual. I can’t help but think that the order of the final two tracks should be switched. Ending the album with “Think it Over” leaves a sort of bland musical taste that easily misses the distinct sound and flavor usually found in Goo Goo Doll’s songs. It is potentially the worst song on the entire record. Instead, the album should have ended with the ballad “Autumn Leaves,” which sucks the joy right out of you in the most elegant way. Certain lyrics like“ Life is change / We move on / And where you go I hope the summer goes along / So I wait / And I wait yeah” conjure feelings of loss someone and recovery. It really leaves the listener in deep thought.
“Over You” is the most familiar-sounding song on the album. From the guitar intro to the lyrics to the beat, it is very reminiscent of timeless hits like “Black Balloon” or “Iris” that propelled the band to stardom in the ’90s. Superb lyrics include “Haven’t seen the sun in days / Oh did you take it away with you / Might have gone our separate ways / But every night brings me back to you” and, “There’s only one truth / There’s only one you / There’s no way out / There’s just no over you.”
This splendid anthem describes a lost love and inability to get over it.
All in all, this album is really well-done. Even with a few hiccups, it still paints a great picture of the Goo Goo Dolls for the modern era and for future years to come.
Album: “Miracle Pill”
Artist: The Goo Goo Dolls
Label: Warner Records
Favorite Tracks: “Over You,” “Miracle Pill,” “Autumn Leaves”
If You Like: Alternative Rock
Shamrocks: 3.5 out of 5