This CD is something you rarely find in rock music anymore. It is a concept album. The thread that runs through most of this CD is one of anger and disillusionment at the end of a relationship. This no doubt stems from lead singer Johnny Rzeznik's divorce during the period from "Dizzy Up the Girl" to the making of this terrific milestone in the evolution of "The Goo Goo Dolls".
As happens with all bands who finally achieve great success after years where not many know about them but their loyal fans, those same fans tend to turn on them. If everyone likes them now, they must have sold out, right? Rzenik and "The Goo Goo Dolls" have just matured artistically and have created in "Gutterflower" an articulate and sometimes angry CD that blends their trademark guitar work with Rzeznik's powerful lyrics as he tries to figure out what went wrong.
This effort is less ballad driven that "Dizzy Up the Girl" and is much more serious in tone. It has something to say and does so in the eloquent way Bob Dylan use to years ago. But "The Goo Goo Dolls" still manage to give us the MUSIC we have waited for as well. Being able to do both shows the maturation of this great rock band. It is artistically rich and will probably be held in higher regard a few years from now as we look back.
"Big Machine" is about surviving the break up ("I'm in love and you don't care") and sets the tone for the entire CD, chronicling Rzeznik's bewilderment while taking a few shots as well. Even the infectious first single released, "Here is Gone" has lyrics like "I thought I lost you somewhere, But you were never really ever there at all". The best cut may be "What a Scene" with fast and edgy lyrics that have echos of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" (How does it feel when your out on your own, and now it's to late to come home? And it's hard to be free when your down on your knees). There are some good songs scattered throughout written by Robby Takac as well but the overall feel remains the same.
Leave your preconceptions behind about what you thought this new CD was going to be like and you will enjoy it tremendously. If you're unfamiliar with the band you might want to pick up "Dizzy Up the Girl" first to get a feel for their unique style.
"Gutterflower" is a richer and more mature effort that won't leave you disappointed. If you dismiss it off hand as some have done you will be missing something truly uncommon in rock music.