Even though the Goo Goo Dolls celebrated their 25th anniversary as a band last year, they continue to find ways to tweak their now-trademark sound.
For their 11th album, "Magnetic" (Warner Bros.), the Goos sound more upbeat and more interested in sounding current than they have in years, working with a squad of producers including label boss and Green Day collaborator Rob Cavallo, Van Halen and Bon Jovi producer John Shanks, Train and Phillip Phillips producer Gregg Wattenberg, and Greg Wells, who's worked with Adele and Katy Perry.
All that input only seems to strengthen the songs of Johnny Rzeznik, who makes his home in Sea Cliff, bassist Robby Takac and drummer Mike Malinin. The single "Rebel Beat," co-written with Wattenberg, adds one of the band's poppiest choruses ever to the more traditionally Goos verses, delivered with a bit of R&B-influenced swagger. The soaring ballad "Bulletproof Angel" works well, with Wells adding an Adele-ish lushness that plays effectively against Rzeznik's tough vocals.
However, it's the anthem-like "When the World Breaks Your Heart" that makes the strongest impression, with its uplifting chorus and sweeping production. "When the world breaks your heart, I will put it back together," Rzeznik sings, as the strings swell, before declaring, "You're not alone." It fits well with the growing catalog of supportive, "it gets better" pop from recent years.
And "Breaks Your Heart" may be the Goo Goo Dolls' finest song since their blockbuster "Iris," proof positive that their best may still be yet to come.
GOO GOO DOLLS
BOTTOM LINE Drawn to new influences, unexpected twists