So here I am, sitting out on my front porch the night before the big Goo Goo Dolls concert, finally delivering the second part of the bestof list I started earlier this week.
It should be noted that the sun has long since abandoned its post, and my porch light burned out many moons ago. Also, the area where I live has a strict anti-street lamp policy. Very strict. We don’t like to talk about just how strict it is, but trust me. Strict.
So I’m sitting here, blogging solely by the light of my laptop screen, just like our forefathers did, feverishly fighting off the endless swarm of moths drawn to the faint blue-ish glow.
You’d think these less than ideal circumstances would drive me inside, where there’s light and many fewer bugs, or at the very least watch my word count and move things along. But no. Here we are. Stalling for time. Talking about my neighborhood and bugs.
Some guy just laid on his horn one street over for a good 30 seconds. Wonder what that was about?
A different guy just walked by, talking to his dog. Did he not see me sitting here? Who doesn’t try to hide it when they talk to themselves or their pets? Maybe he thought I must be crazy too. After all, who sits on a porch in total darkness, pounding away at a laptop?
Alright, that bug that just dive-bombed my face was just too big for me to comprehend. I’ve had enough of this, let’s get into the list.
You know him as the Goo Goo Dolls’ more famous lead singer and guitarist, the voice behind all of their biggest and smallest hits.
In many ways this was a much tougher list to put together than my Best of Robby collection. Some tough choices had to be made. Some favorites had to be left off. But the top pretty much wrote itself.
Here they are: The Ten Best Johnny (John) Rzeznik Songs … of All Time!
10.) We Are the Normal- For a while there, The Goo Goo Dolls had a reputation as being a three-piece Replacements clone. And by god they earned it with this song. Penned with the help of Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg, this song borrows more than a little from The Replacements classic “Unsatisfied.” “We are the Normal” has a great build and a nice, easy chorus to sing along to.
9.) There You Are- Some more early Goo's. This one has a little bit more of an edge and it's just a top notch '90s alt rock song. Just a fun song.
8.) Black Balloon- A beautiful song that somehow I almost left off my list. That would have been a travesty. It’s an emotional and moody tune that pulls you in. I’ll admit, the bigger meaning of this song completely went over my head when I was a boy, first listening to it. Back then it just seemed like something I wanted to experience. Just to one day care about anyone or anything as much as Johnny seemed to in this song.
7.) Sympathy- Gutterflower, as an album, doesn’t get its due. The follow up to the mega-hit Dizzy Up the Girl, produced some classics. You want to know how pretty this song is? It’s got a flippin’ mandolin in it. What’s prettier than a mandolin? Nothing.
6.) Acoustic #3- Honest songwriting at its finest. Anytime you think the Goo's are just churning out disposable crap to put on the radio, give this song a listen. The material stands up with whatever indie, and there-by cooler, act you’d like to compare it to. You want to dress it up with a full string section? Fine, that works, by “Acoustic #3” plays at its finest when it’s just Johnny and a guitar.
5.) Slide- Probably not an hour goes by that this song doesn’t play on the radio somewhere in this country. It was a remains everywhere. Despite being maybe a little tiny bit overplayed, I still love this song. Every so often I’ll just sit down and really listen to it. Not just have it on while I’m doing something else, but focus in on the thing. And this tale of love and choices never fails to grab me.
4.) Here is Gone- I have no idea what this song is about. None. But my god is it catchy. In a career full of catchy tunes, this just might be the Goo's catchiest. And that acoustic guitar riff? That’s the kind of thing that puts ears to radios and butts in stadiums.
3.) Two Days in February- This is what you call a musical cult classic. “Two Days in February,” from the Goo's third album Hold Me Up, is a shocking bit of foreshadowing. This quiet, acoustic-driven song sticks out like a sore thumb from the hard rock tunes the Goo's were specializing in at that time. It sounds like it would be more at home on a later day album, one where Robby isn’t still the lead singer. But yet there it is. A giddy anomaly.
2.) Name- I’m not sure what can be said about numbers one and two on this list that hasn’t already been written thousands of times. I’m also fairly certain I’m doing some fairly permanent damage to my eyes squinting at this damned screen, surrounded on all sides by darkness and police sirens. Yeah that’s happening. So rather than listen to me, listen to the songs. It’s pretty obvious why these two ended up where there did. One and two on the best of Johnny, and in the exact same order on any best of the Goo’s list that’s worth its salt. Enjoy.