Song of the Day: Goo Goo Dolls, "Amigone"
When I was first becoming a music snob in my early teens, I was always doing one of two things: Convincing kids who only listened to the radio that indie groups were worth their time, and talking my fellow snobs into the idea that mainstream bands could be cool. One of the greatest examples of the latter carried me through the back half of the '90s in the form of a little band from Buffalo called the Goo Goo Dolls.
Though they had already made four albums by the time it arrived, "Name" was the drippy acoustic ballad that made the group with the silly name a radio and MTV staple in 1995. Though it was deeply uncool to like "Name" and its too-pretty singer, I still snagged a copy of A Boy Named Goo and was pleased to discover that the crossover single was an outlier on an otherwise solid collection of power pop tunes that fell somewhere between the shagginess of the group's garage-afflicted Replacements moves and the shiny pop product it would soon grow into. When Goo Goo Dolls were announced as the opening act for the Bush concert we were all going to see, most everybody in my show-going party rolled their eyes, but I got excited because I was looking forward to the band cranking through chunky bangers like "Naked," "Flat Top" and "So Long."
It became slightly less acceptable to embrace the Goo Goo Dolls by the time they signed a major label deal and released 1998's Dizzy Up The Girl. The basic tenets of the Goos sound were still in tact, but they were cranked up to 11. Instead of the understated ease of "Name," the big ballad on Dizzy was the bombastically cinematic "Iris," which had become a massive hit earlier in the year as part of the City of Angels soundtrack. They followed that single up with "Slide," a kinder gentler version of their hard jangle.
But there were still a handful of those punk-at-heart tunes on Dizzy Up The Girl, and my favorite remains "Amigone," a tune sung by Goos bassist Robbie Takac. His voice is snarlier than frontman Johnny Rzeznik's, and it lends the otherwise clean sheen of this four-chord jump just enough edge to reveal their gnarlier roots. I don't want to front on the rest of Dizzy, because "Black Balloon" and "Broadway" are both stellar constructions, but nothing reminds me that the Goo Goo Dolls secretly kick ass like Takac moaning, "Was the poison in our blood there all along?"