« on: April 24, 2017, 04:47 PM »
Personally, Gutterflower is the best Goo Goo Dolls album of all time.
''Gutterflower is a artpiece where all emotions combine.''
1. It took a LOT of effort
Try to imagine the pressure on you after you made your best album to date. In this period of time the Goo Goo Dolls were the hottest band around. All eyes were on them. John, who experienced writers block before he wrote Iris, stood before one of the biggest challenges of his life: competiting with his own album. The fact that they really took time to write, compose and experience this new album makes it great because the outcome wouldn't have been this good if it was rushed. Why? Read the review below!
2. A product of mourning and doubts
As I stated before, this period was a rough one for the band. They had moved to Los Angeles and experienced all these differences. Big Machine is literally a song about L.A being this big American machine of fame, deceit, love, drugs and rock 'n roll. The band, although not unfamilair with these things felt a bit of a cultural shock as they witnessed their new surroundings and their newfound stardom. John divorced his first wife Laurie Farinacci and you can hear the references throughout this album lyricwise. One can easily say that Here is Gone, Truth is A Whisper, It's Over & What Do you Need? are about being seperated from the one you loved, and the anger and loneliness that comes with such a breakup. John stated on CNN before the album came out that sometimes he didn't even know where he really was writing about, imagine the confusion.
3. It's a introspective diary
John's divorce, the change of surroundings, their stardom. It's all shown on this album. Gutterflower is still one of the most introspective albums of the band. It deals with such personal memories written in a way that everyone can relate to it. It's a real talent to write about your deepest fears and memories without losing your audience. The fact that Gutterflower is a public diary for everyone to hear and relate to makes it one of the most vulnerable albums to date.
4. Ballad vs Raw
Gutterflower has razorsharp edges. When they belt out songs like Sympathy it's almost impossible to follow that up with a song like Truth is A Whisper or What Do You Need. You can feel the anger right through those songs. Dizzy Up The Girl sometimes lacked a edge, that final part that knocked you out. I think Gutterflower has that perfect balance of mourning ballads followed up by hardrock anthems. These songs on this album are one of the last Goo Goo Dolls songs that could qualify as the 'older Goo Goo Dolls' As I said before its ballads vs anthems but songs like Big Machine and Here is Gone are an example of how a song with lyrics designed for a ballad can actually sound as hard as possible.
5. A tortured soul on paper.
Personally I think Flat Top is one of Johnny's best songs ever writen but the best lyrics he ever wrote are on this album. 'Livin' like a house on fire, what you fear is your desire, it's hard to deal, I still love the way you feel. On this album its all about being recognised, being loved and to accept to let it slip right out of your hands. 'and we woke up in the breakdown of the things we never thought we could be' - 'Hate is so heavy when you weak, now we're both lost in anger, when we're alone we'll find some peace'. Gutterflower was designed to pour out all of these feelings. The music was important but its really all about these lyrics. John is a tortured, incurable romantic accompanied by the soaring guitars, hard rythms and sometimes everlasting softness of his rare acoustic tunings. Gutterflower is a artpiece where all emotions combine.
6. The instrumentation carries the transfer
Distorted riffs and echoed vocals on What Do You Need & It's Over... Rythmic basslines on Up, Up Up. The sound of fingers moving across the neck of the guitar and the little guitar solo on the end of 'What A Scene' Gutterflower really delivers some thoughtful instrumentations that fit perfectly around the lyrics. The outro on Up, Up, Up tells us beneath all that pain and bitterness there is a time and place for a groovy tuning, a bright moment and some amazing guitarplay. Gutterflower leans on melody, great lyrics and a most of the time is a core of repetitive (rough) carrying riffs (What Do You Need). As we know them they always make space for a ballad, Sympathy is one of their best acoustic songs because it really shows the complexity of John's alternative tunings combined by his honest lyrics. While really sandwiched between heavier songs, Sympathy really stands out has it's own kind of hardness.
7. They were on top of their game.
Big Machine, Sympathy, Here Is Gone were all massive hits in the US. it proved that heartfelt music with a real message could find its way to the charts and to the people. Still to this day I think Gutterflower was their absolute peak musical and lyrical. The Goo Goo Dolls have churned out the most amazing ballads but almost none of them were as dark as the songs on this album. Among some fans Gutterflower was the last album that was recognized as 'their old sound' and the critics' first impression of the following album was not great. After Boy Named Goo, Dizzy Up The Girl and Gutterflower, the band entered a period (2004 -) of a more contemporary and adult sound. A band grows, and I adore the following up albums, but the rawness and honesty on this album were never reached again.
8. Robby brings on the light
The lyrics might not be the brightest, but the vibe of Smash, Up, Up, Up, and Tucked Away breaths some hope. Robby is known for his lyrics about tragic or hard situations molded in a often danceable, rocking structure. It's easy to give a nuance to Robby's lyrics while he - like John - also writes about difficult topics, love, affection and losing people. It's just the fact that he combines those lyrics with his instrumentation that makes his songs a breath of fresh air after all the despair of the previous songs. But dont be fooled, listen carefully and you will hear that Robby has some important things to say: 'Making me remember when your pushes became shoves' - 'I hope you're gonna see these things happen someday, so don't stop lookin' for that light along the way'...
9. Small ingenious details
After all of the above reasons to love this album, there are a lot of things that people dont know about Gutterflower. The title 'Gutterflower' actually originates from the poem 'The Beggar' from Pablo Neruda, John's favorite writer. His favorite book (American Tabloid by Ellroy) was on his mind while writing Big Machine. That particular song used a drum machine before recording it, Johnny calls it his 'disco track' because the drum rythm was named 'disco' in this machine. He also calls it a propulsive tale of unrequited love. There is a small little guitar solo on the end of 'What a Scene' that makes it a even better song. If you know more little details or other cool facts about Gutterflower, let me know!
10. What is your reason?