Alternative Press (4/95, p.66) - "...With A BOY NAMED GOO, the Goo Goo Dolls again churn out a workmanlike mix of catchy, angst-ridden retro-Replacements and driving, straight-ahead rock..."
Musician (5/95, p.92) - "...Between its bristling, punkish guitars and bright, pop-savvy melodies, this comes on like the greatest album Paul Westerberg never made...giddily infectious..."
Goo Goo Dolls: John Rzeznik (guitar), Robby (bass), George (drums).
Producers: Lou Giordano (tracks 1-11); Rob Cavallo, Goo Goo Dolls (tracks 12-13).
Engineers: Lou Giordano (tracks 1-11); Jerry Finn (tracks 12-13).
Recorded at Beartracks Studios, Suffern, New York and Soundcastle, Los Angeles, California.
All songs written by John Rzeznik or Goo Goo Dolls except "Disconnected" (Mann/Piranha/Secrist/Sinister) and "Slave Girl" (M. Blood/J. Jakimyszyn).
A BOY NAMED GOO shows that the Goo Goo Dolls have soaked up all the elements necessary to make them a great guitar band. The album's title clearly harkens back to Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" and its narrator's search for the people who named him; but the Goo Goo Dolls aren't taking that path. They already know their past (straight-ahead post-punk), and A BOY NAMED GOO plots out their present.
With a smart-alec, bar-band approach reminiscent of the Replacements, the Goo Goo Dolls rage about being "Disconnected"--that "someone pulled the plug." They sound worried on "Long Way Down," realizing that "I don't think I'll make it on my own." "Burnin' Up" offers another key to the Goo Goo Dolls' garage sound by adding a smidgeon of Husker Du (the Bob Mould guitar chimes and Grant Hart's melodic vocal sense are properly reproduced). But it's on the acoustic "Name" that the Dolls' own context emerges. The song complains about "growing up way too fast" in a culture where everything seems borrowed and "re-runs are our history."
This is what makes the Goo Goo Dolls admirable. They're thoroughly aware of the repetition within today's guitar-rock, and use only the good pieces to evaluate the present. A BOY NAMED GOO shows a band completely aware of their surroundings, and boasts some great guitars in the process.
Personnel: John Harris (guitar); George Tutuska (drums).
Recording information: Beartracks Studios, Suffern, NY; Sound Castle, L.A, C.A; Trackmaster Studios, Buffalo, NY.
Photographer: Lisa Anne Auerbach.
Though they hailed from upstate New York, the Goo Goo Dolls began as a band enamored of the '80s Minneapolis sound of the Replacements, Husker Du, Soul Asylum, et al. Accordingly, their early albums were fervid punk-flavored items full of barely controlled sonic mayhem and occasional hints of pop songcraft. By the time of 1995's A BOY NAMED GOO, the band had honed its sound to perfection, trimming off the roughest edges and seriously pumping up the pop sensibilities. Sure enough, it provided the Dolls with their commercial breakthrough five albums into their career.
It was the poignant semi-ballad "Name" that provided the band with their all-important radio smash, but in fact that tune was a bit of an anomaly. Though the Dolls had prettied up their approach, most of the songs on GOO were still full-on rockers replete with thick, chugging guitars and bravura drum-bashing, standing in stark contrast to the low-key, acoustic-based "Name." Still, once listeners were drawn in, they had no problem connecting with the more energetic side of the band.