Local Wire

Goo Goo Dolls

In a past life, the arena-striding Goo Goo Dolls were thought quaint by their critics and artsier alt peers: too in love with their punk heroes, too working-class sentimental, too straight rock. Well, they got the last laugh when the money rolled in. But while re-creating the success of the single "Name," they became so overblown, two generations now know them as MOR-meisters. Who cares? You might, if you've ever heard the satisfying, gritty pop on Hold Me Up, or even 1995's slicker A Boy Named Goo. Now comes the gaseous Let Love In, complete with Springsteen-via-Bon Jovi poetry and at least one ballad that Enrique Iglesias could re-dub with nothing amiss. Worst, raspy Robby Takac -- who contributes "Strange Love," the album's only redeeming track -- is now nearly muzzled in favor of bedroom-hush Johnny Rzeznik. If they cared, the Goo Goo Dolls would protest that they have humble roots; no one can begrudge them the right to extend their Big Break as long as possible. Anyway, making a stand -- when you're filthy rich -- must just seem quaint.