My Personal "Boxes" Review

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Cubed

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My Personal "Boxes" Review
« on: April 29, 2016, 04:58 PM »
1. Over and Over:
A nice opener. A U2-style guitar drives the track, blasting drums come and go to add some variety to the track and the blaring chorus (complete with guitars and synths) creates a head-bobbing modern Power Pop/Rock track. Standard lyrical content by Rzeznik; nothing amazing, but some introspective lines sprinkled throughout.
7/10

2. Souls In The Machine:
Imagine the Goo Goo Dolls fusing with Phillip Phillips and contemporary Country and you have a good idea what to expect. Slamming drums and the acoustic guitar create a pleasing instrumental that becomes a jamming instrumental with an uptempo kick about halfway through, joined by electric guitars. John's lyrics about feeling lost in the dark and oppressed help elevate this track to one of the best on the album.
7/10

3. Flood
Instrumentally, this track has everything: Drum machines, real drums, piano, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, synths, and harmonizing background vocals. That may sound like a mess, but everything works very well and the song goes from dark to bright, slow to fast, quiet to bombastic a few times throughout its duration. Both John Rzeznik and Sydney Sierota hit all their notes beautifully, sound great together, and sing the most obtuse and interesting lyrics on the album.
8/10

4. The Pin:
A gravely voice and stripped acoustic guitar begin the track humbly enough, but much like "Over and Over," the song builds to a booming chorus of clashing drums, jamming guitars, and subtle synths (subtle when compared to "Over and Over," at least). The bridge and ending chorus introduce some amazing arena/anthem Rock guitars to layer the instrumental further; exploding like the metaphorical grenade mentioned in the song.
8/10

5. Boxes:
An absolute lyrical and guitar-oriented gem. The somber, distorted electric guitar is a very unique sound for the band. Lyrically, John Rzeznik goes as deep, and as personal, as any Goo Goo Dolls song every recorded. Rzeznik longs for a normal life, and shows hope that he's starting to acquire it, despite his insecurities. Instrumentally, while the song is driven by a cool, somber guitar riff, it's built on by abstract and obtuse sound effects; not synths, mind you, but rather haunting swirls. A very basic rock song lifted up by personal lyrics and creative production.
8/10

6. Free of Me:
Those expecting a Robby song in the vein of something from "A Boy Name Goo," will be let down here. This track is definitely a nice mix of electric guitars and bass, but there is a fair share of acoustic guitar and the slower tempo is not traditional Robby. Still, Robby's quality keeps this song on the rocking end of the album. It's also nice to see Robby pull of a very "sing-along" type of song.
6/10

7. Reverse:
This is as Pop as the band could possibly be. The instrumental is driven by piano and modern Pop-like sounds and synths; especially in the hook. Lyrically, Rzeznik goes from an unique line to a cliche one and back pretty much the entire song. There are bright spots like the rocking guitars in the bridge and ending hook, but there was more that could have been done with bringing the guitars to the forefront.
5/10

8. Lucky One:
The song's verses are defined by a whistling sound effect. You will also find plenty of synths and plenty of "Oohs" and "Waoohs." Much like "Reverse," this is as Pop as the band can get. I don't believe it's hyperbole to say Selena Gomez or Taylor Swift could have written this song. A great disappointment.
1/10

9. So Alive:
Coming off of "Lucky One," this first single off of "Boxes" is more along the lines of what we expect from a John Rzeznik in his 50s. Lyrics addressing his sobriety bring this song up a notch, and while the chorus rocks a bit, the piano-laced verses certainly make this one of the softer songs on the album; though the song isn't altogether unappealing.
5/10

10. Prayer In My Pocket:
Even more Pop than Robby's other song "Free of Me." More synths, more piano, and some of the weakest lyrics Robby has ever written. However, the style change for Robby at least makes this an unique track for him and it has some amazing bass and a nice sing-song ending that saves it from being a complete disaster.
3/10

11. Long Way Home:
This song is a strange one. It definitely has some type of "radio-friendly pop" feel, especially with the abundance of drum machine at the beginning and production room "bloops" and "bleeps." However, there is also a haunting quality to the piano, Rzeznik's vocals, and the lyrical content. The song is also helped past the intro by the inclusion of real drums, replacing the drum machine in the intro. The lack of guitars really damages this one, as a nice electric guitar riff in the verses and slamming into the chorus' could have made all of the difference.
6/10


OVERALL: 6.5/10
A disappointing album, but not a complete trainwreck. I'm greatly let down by the latter half of the record. Listening to the album straight through, every song was pretty good-to-great from track one through six, but after "Free of Me" the record just falls off and never recovers. Still, there are some highlights and even the weaker songs on the album have nuggets of brilliance in them.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 10:31 PM by Cubed »

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Gen

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2016, 05:54 PM »
Just curious as to how you arrived at the 5/10 score for the overall album. You gave 7 out of the 11 songs higher than that, and another right at 5. So, 3 songs you didn't like brought the average down that much?

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Cubed

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2016, 06:05 PM »
Yes. Those 3 songs are pretty much "22 Seconds" quality (meaning they suck) and are some of the worst things I've ever heard from this band. Additionally, no song is a standout to me when compared to the Goo's catalog. There are great songs, no doubt, and maybe over time the songs I gave an 8/10 to (Flood, The Pin, and Boxes) will find their way in my Top 25 GGD songs, but right now the album is extremely skippable, in my opinion.

Additionally, even if you wanted to average out my scores (which is not how I arrived at my 5/10 score, but let's do this for fun anyway), the average still comes to 5.6/10... it's a 6/10 album at best for me, but since nothing really blew me away and some of the songs are the worst to ever come out of the band, my 5/10 stands.

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Ben

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2016, 06:21 PM »
Damn Bro. We always kept this "boxes will be all rock" flame going but hearing this...
Has it leaked by the way?  How do you know the songs already?
I keep on looking but something's always missing.

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Gen

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2016, 06:33 PM »
Yes. Those 3 songs are pretty much "22 Seconds" quality (meaning they suck) and are some of the worst things I've ever heard from this band. Additionally, no song is a standout to me when compared to the Goo's catalog. There are great songs, no doubt, and maybe over time the songs I gave an 8/10 to (Flood, The Pin, and Boxes) will find their way in my Top 25 GGD songs, but right now the album is extremely skippable, in my opinion.

Additionally, even if you wanted to average out my scores (which is not how I arrived at my 5/10 score, but let's do this for fun anyway), the average still comes to 5.6/10... it's a 6/10 album at best for me, but since nothing really blew me away and some of the songs are the worst to ever come out of the band, my 5/10 stands.

Well, we all have our own opinions. Sorry you're not digging it.

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Ben

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2016, 06:35 PM »
So the album has leaked.  I will not listen previews or download it till i got the real copy in my hand. And although im disappointed in this review i will stay hopeful i will like it.
I keep on looking but something's always missing.

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Cubed

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2016, 06:40 PM »
I hope EVERYONE likes this album more than me.

I still love the hell out of this band, but I had to be honest in my review.

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Pon

Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2016, 07:16 PM »
This album is obviously trying to market to the young pop music audience...
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 11:08 PM by OnlyOne »

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Me & My Arrow

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2016, 07:24 PM »
Just listened through and...wow, that was rough. When I first listened to Magnetic, I remember thinking it had a bunch of great songs and "More of You" stuck out like a sore thumb as one of the worst songs the band's ever released. Listening to this was the opposite: most of the songs would end up on a "worst GGD song" list, but a couple of songs stood out as being pretty solid.

First impressions: 2-4 is definitely the best stretch of the album. If I had to pick a favorite right now, it would probably be "Flood," which surprised me. It's also the most "movie soundtrack" of the bunch, and I could easily see that one popping up in film soundtracks, TV shows, and commercials over the next year. The overall sound of the album is a mix of Phillip Phillips (easily the most prominent comparison, that producer clearly didn't stretch outside his comfort zone...), OneRepublic, and Imagine Dragons. The low points are "Reverse" and "Lucky One." There is definitely no traditional "rock" on the album outside of "Over and Over," and it's painfully funny that the super rocking bit they teased on Instagram is just a buried layer in the bridge of the ultra-pop "Reverse." The lyrics are uniformly awful, in my opinion -- the album is essentially one long string of cliches. Johnny is capable of writing much, much more compelling and interesting lyrics, which makes it that much worse.

So, this is the first album where I truly feel cut off from the band. They've bought into pop trends more than ever before, and as a result the music sounds like rehashed version of other bands, rather than something that feels uniquely like the Goo Goo Dolls wrote it. It's a hard feeling, but I still wish them success. Maybe one day they'll be out of the system and write another album that doesn't cater to pop cliches and production stylings.

As for the leak phenomenon, it's way less important these days. Most people will stream the album on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, etc., and I would guess it's a very tiny fraction of people that download the album instead of purchasing it (and they could just wait a week to do that, anyways). I wouldn't worry about it affecting the band at all.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 11:06 AM by Me & My Arrow »

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Me & My Arrow

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2016, 07:39 PM »
Yup..this sums it up. Most of the songs are not even traditional rock. Years before, we use to argue between punk rock to soft rock. Right now, there is no rock in most of the songs...lol. It's a pop album. Not Justin Beiber pop...but more like Katy Perry, Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston kind of pop.

There is definitely no traditional "rock" on the album outside of "Over and Over,"


Eh, I don't really hear Michael Bolton or Whitney Houston. And to be clear, I wasn't saying it has to be rock to be good (I love lots of non-rock music, and the song I liked the most, "Flood," isn't rock at all), it was more just noting that people hoping for any kind of rock on the album will be disappointed, or at least thrown off by the almost total lack of anything resembling rock.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 07:51 PM by Me & My Arrow »

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Star

Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2016, 08:10 PM »
Isn't this something that could have waited until it was officially released? It's like telling someone all about a movie before they have seen it, so they don't bother going.

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Pon

Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2016, 08:42 PM »
I deleted much of my rants...I'll just keep it simple. This is a pop album!

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Ben

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2016, 08:52 PM »
I'm all about opinions and expressing but to be honest these rants are ridiculous. Some things are just plain wrong... So it's pop... The world will end?
LetItGoo I think we had a fair amount of "I'll throw away every cd" for now thank you. Geez.
I keep on looking but something's always missing.

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OnlyOne

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2016, 08:59 PM »

Isn't this something that could have waited until it was officially released? It's like telling someone all about a movie before they have seen it, so they don't bother going.

Yes, I agree!
"Keep your memories but don’t live the past..."

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KevinsSong

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Re: My Personal "Boxes" Review
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2016, 09:08 PM »
I listened to it and its a fantastic album. So what if it is more pop? And people shouldn't be so precious about the original poster, if you don't want to read it then don't.
Stand out songs are souls in the machine, boxes (best song on the record), free of me and over and over
Overall a solid 8/10 best record they've recorded in 10 years