OMIGOD, it’s time once again for Classic Albums!! So what do I say here? This album changed my life?? Well, as a matter of fact it did. I was working at Boscov’s, a South Jersey retailer in 1996 when a customer accidentally left some CDs in the Men’s department. We waited the appropriate amount of time, and when no one claimed them I did the right thing…I took them to the record retailer in the mall and got two new CDs. I don’t remember what the second one was, but the first was GOO GOO DOLLS landmark album A Boy Named Goo. I was 22 years old, my girlfriend and I had just ended a very bad relationship (we’re still friends…she’s married now with two gorgeous kids) and had no idea where I was headed. This album was the one that pulled me out of my funk. Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac’s voices were just what I needed on that fateful day when I got home from work. “Name” had been a single over the 1995 summer but for some reason I never paid it any mind until then. And when I did the lyrics stopped me cold:
“I think about you all the time
But I don’t need the same
It’s lonely where you are
Come back down
And I won’t tell ’em your name”
It made me think of my Dad who passed away in 1987. It made me think hard. And there in my living room I broke down and cried, probably harder than I did when he actually died. So now I had to go through the rest of the album and see what emotions it would wring out of me. Now bear in mind I had this record before opener “Long Way Down” was a single, so I was no bandwagon-hopper. No matter, it’s a great fucking song and my old band RED DOWN BELOW used to do it in our sets for years! (Right Larry? Mike? Eddie? Bob?) And from here the fucking car just floors it! Robby takes the helm for “Burnin’ Up” which is STILL one of my favorite GGD songs to this day and then Johnny comes back in for second single “Naked” and “Flat Top” which is such a phenomenal song musically and vocally. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to sing it like him, but I have been trying for almost 20 years!
“Impersonality” has Robby on leads once again, and I remember clear as day driving down a snowy 295 listening and thinking how dynamic this band was with two night and day vocalists. “Name” is basically a thing of beauty from start to finish, and then “Only One” comes in and RAWKS the BAWLS off da place! “Something Bad” remains to this day one of my favorite Robby songs (right up there with my “January Friend”) and goes full throttle. “Ain’t That Unusual” is yet another song that had me in awe of Johnny’s vocal prowess and I was determined to try and sing as good as him. Didn’t happen, but hell, I tried. The remaining tracks flip-flop between Rzeznik and Takac, “Eyes Wide Open”, “So Long”, “Disconnected” and the raunchy “Slave Girl” with me feebly trying to emulate Johnny’s “I wanna kick it on dowwwwn” on “Eyes”.
The good news is I somehow found a way to do passable versions of these songs in RDB over the years. And also, this album, A Boy Named Goo has been very cathartic for me. It has been there for me in the best of times and the worst of times. When I sat there with a gun in my mouth wanting to end it all THIS is the album that pulled me back. No one really knows that, and I am sharing it with you here today, dear readers. So while GOO GOO DOLLS may not seem worthy of Classic Albums status to some of you, believe me when I say it is. I have so many great memories of this album and of this band, but I think the single greatest would be taking Michelle to her first GGD show in ’99 and seeing that joy on her face from open to close. And THAT’s something you can’t put a price tag on. Johnny and Robby, thank you for the music and the memories… ~dc
FOR MY FATHER, JOSEPH RONALD COUSINS, AND FOR THOSE WHO NEVER STOPPED BELIEVING IN ME…