You have to feel for handsome millionaire rock star John Rzeznik. Once you’ve been propelled to stardom by all-conquering anthems Name and Slide and modern classic Iris, where do you go next?
In the near-two decades since then, the Goo Goo Dolls have sustained their popularity admirably. Rzeznik, now clean and serene, is getting married this year, and bassist Robbie Takac has just become a dad, so it’s no surprise that their glossy tenth album sounds so happy, romantic and, well, stable.
Rzeznik has collaborated with some of high-pedigree writers and producers for Magnetic, among them Gregg Wattenberg (Train) and John Shanks (Bon Jovi). Lead-off single Rebel Beat sees the Dolls at their most commercial, with a singalong chorus One Direction would kill for; When The World Breaks Your Heart, Slow It Down and Keep The Car Running balance real songwriting craft with slick formula; Come To Me and Bulletproof Angel are masterclasses in balladry, but there’s a hint of the punky grit of yore in Takac’s occasional vocals.
Magnetic may veer close to Maroon-5-at-their-very-best territory, but let’s not be sniffy. It’s a life-affirming, joyful record, the band’s blue collar washed and ironed as they look for the heart of Saturday night, and, as ever, their charismatic singer elevates it all.