After one listen, I’d have to say “Magnetic” is a massive step up over the band’s most recent effort, 2010’s mostly unremarkable and unmemorable “Something for the Rest of Us.” It’s a peppier, catchier effort and one that I could see myself putting on in the background without feeling the urge to hover closely to the skip button.
It’s not perfect. It’s still prone to some of the same problems that plagued “Something for the Rest of Us,” and prior to that “Let Love In.” There are too many love songs, some clunky lyrics here and there, and lead singer Johnny Rzeznik hits the occasional flat note.
Also, at 11-tracks and under 40 minutes, it doesn’t quite feel substantial enough.
Honestly though, I’m so attached to the 90’s alt rock sound the Goos perfected on their earlier albums that sometimes it’s hard for me to accept their transformation into a contemporary pop rock band.
Let’s break it down track-by-track, shall we?
- Rebel Beat- Awesome lead single, second best tune on the album. Nice and ridiculously catchy change of pace for the band. Just try not to sing along with it.
- When the World Breaks Your Heart- Kind of meh. One of those inoffensive, forgettable love songs that have dominated the band’s catalogue of late. Not crazy about the lyrics. Seems like a Frankenstein-collection of lines from other love songs. Orchestral arrangement works well.
- Slow it Down- Better song. Nothing earth-shattering, but it’s got a good beat.
- Caught in the Storm- One of the weaker songs. The lyric “I’m caught in this storm we call love, I’m so alone, come find me” is kind of the opposite of great and original. Also, it reminds me of a line from the latter day “Boy Meets World” theme song which goes: “Wandering down this road we call life.
- Come to Me- Best song on the CD. There I said it. Sure, it’s another love song, most of them are on “Magnetic.” This one, though, is a shining example of what the Goo Goo Dolls do better than most other bands. It’s so painfully romantic you just can’t help but love it. There are shades of “We’re Going to Be Friends” by The White Stripes and the Goo’s own “Name” running through it. Absolutely beautiful song. Third verse takes the cake.
- Bringing on the Light- The first song on the disc sung by bassist and occasional singer Robbie Takac. I love Robbie. His nasally rasp is a perfect complement to Johnny’s more polished vocals. Great change of pace on the album. Classic Robbie song. Heartfelt and rocking.
- More of You- Not bad. Good chorus and build up. The Goo's attempt dub-step and survive.
- BulletProofAngel- Seems like there were big expectations for this song, but it mostly falls flat. A lot of big ideas with the orchestra and such, but not a standout.
- Last Hot Night- Bound to be a favorite on the Goo’s upcoming summer concert tour. I can easily see folks rocking out to this one while enjoying a night of music under the stars. Not a bad song either.
- Happiest of Days- The second and last Robbie song. Another winner. I really do love Robbie a lot. Seems like he could have been given more space on this disc. Like I said, it’s only 11 tracks, he could have easily added another 1-2 to break up the Johnny material a little bit.
- Keep the Car Running- The album ends on a high note thanks to its final three songs. Another good one.
You could certainly find plenty of worse ways to spend $9.99.