Rating: 8 out of 10
By Tim Peacock
For over three decades, Buffalo’s Goo Goo Dolls have been putting out the hits. With some GRAMMY nominations, platinum records, and a handful of other achievements to their name, it’s fair to say they know how to write a song.
‘Miracle Pill’ is the band’s twelfth full-length album, which lead singer/songwriter John Rzeznik describes it as being written from a place of honesty about this time in his life, and something that fans who’ve grown up with the band will relate to.
Pop-rock doesn’t get much catcher than with opener ‘Indestructible’, fuelled by a chorus that builds up fast and loops round and round again. Full of woo-ing chants, it’s a truly irresistible joy that comes with this song. In a seamless transition, ‘Fearless’ follows and continues the joy, but adds a slight edge of confidence and strength on top.
‘Lost’ offers a Coldplay-esque, slower heartfelt sing-along song, the type that you could imagine an arena of phone torches swaying along to. The song further plays into the pop-rock genre, and though it’s enjoyable, it lacks any spark of originality. There’s a glimmer of the soulful emo lyrics that made Goo Goo Dolls‘ earlier hits so popular, but the chorus comes around too quickly for the verses to build on that emotion.
It’s the title-track, however, that gives this album its unique personality. The keys tapping throughout gives it a punchier feel than most of the album, and there’s a real passion to the way the vocals are presented in this piece. This song oozes swagger and ownership, really making up for the more generic cuts on the record.
Some further character is then added in ‘Money, Fame & Fortune’, using synth and additional female backing vocals to create a more versatile sound to break up the album. Whilst still owning some repetitive catchy lyrics, this song feels somewhat suave, breaking away from loud arena chants and slow moving into a funky club vibe, adding a very different feel to the album for a short interlude.
‘Miracle Pill’ is nearly 40 minutes of inspirational, uplifting, joyful music. Whilst some tracks do feel dated, and trapped in the early 00s/late 90s era of radio rock, it’s hard to find too many things to dislike about this album. It just puts a smile on your face with the persistent optimism of the lyrics, the upbeat tones of the music, and just enough music versatility to keep from feeling generic.
Goo Goo Dolls have demonstrated yet again with ‘Miracle Pill’ that they find no difficulty in writing crowd-pleasing pop-rock hits that get people chanting along and having a good time.