If you think this is good music, you need your head checking.
The Goo Goo Dolls have been together for almost twenty years and 'Let Love In' is their ninth studio album. Fans and critics generally agree that the band took a turn (some say for the worst) in the mid-nineties, when they abandoned their originally more punk sound to produce songs with a more commercial and pop feel. This brought them greater success, particularly with the song 'Iris' which was featured in the 'City Of Angels' soundtrack; and the band have never looked back: a true sell-out if ever there was one, rarely even performing pre-1995 songs in their post-1995 concerts.
The opening track 'Stay With You' sets the scene and the standard for the rest of the album. A formulaic and cheesy rock track it relies on loud banging to replace rhythm, and droning vocals combined with overloud electric guitars to replace a tune. It is radio rock at its worst, completely emotionless and produced without care. Title track 'Let Love In' soon follows, with a slightly improved pace and a hint of genuine feeling. The overall sound is still crowded however, and at five minutes long the (initially and forever weak) idea behind the song feels stretched thin. It is of course possible that the Goo Goo Dolls penned 'Let Love In' in order to enter a competition to determine how many times a song can repeat its one sentence chorus - in which case this album may have achieved something.
In third track 'Feel The Silence' the band make an initial attempt to switch into ballad mode, but soon slip back into their dull, formulaic, chanting pattern; endlessly repeating weak lyrics such as 'And if we feel the silence / Holding this all inside / Everything means more now than / Words could explain'. The listener may in fact begin to feel sorry for the band's drummer at this point, as he never gets to do anything but beat out a basic rhythm, but then it's entirely possible that that is all he can do. 'Better Days' again attempts a ballad, and makes a slightly better go of it, yet still feels inauthentic and sickeningly commercial. The only situation in which is wouldn't feel out of place is as background music to a montage in a straight-to-video teen movie, perhaps showing the romantic protagonists being reunited after an ever-so-important-to-the-state-of-the-world misunderstanding. The Goo-Goo Doll's most successful song 'Iris' may also have been a cheesy rock ballad, but still managed to have more emotion than this (as did the film version of 'Doom', come to think of it. And that wasn't a good movie).
The above descriptions apply equally well to the remaining songs on the album. There is some variety in the tracks – some are so boring as to make watching the shopping channel seem an exciting prospect, whilst others provide some amusement due to the sheer unoriginality of their lyrics. It says a lot for 'Let Love In' that the album's highlight is a cover version of 'Give A Little Bit' by Supertramp. As the average age of their fanbase is around 15, the Goo Goo Dolls are probably hoping that their listeners won't remember the original version and think "Oh, this is a good song, decent lyrics, catchy tune" (this is a risky strategy however – 'Give A Little Bit' highlights how bad the other tracks here are in comparison). Although this cover is the best track on the album, it remains a bad version of a good song and has little value other than that of curiosity. It does provide a moment of respite before the crashingly boring 'Can't Let It Go' and 'We'll Be Here (When You're Gone)', which should carry a health warning as they reduce the listener's will to live.
'Let Love In' is a triumph of mediocrity and proof that an utter lack of ideas and talent is not a barrier to making an album provided that you have some money and previous success. It is a travesty that so many talented and original bands are as yet unsigned whilst these clowns are paid thousands of pounds to churn out what is essentially formulaic trash. The Goo Goo Dolls don't give a flying fig about the art of creation, the state of the music scene or even writing a good song – they just want their paycheck. Perhaps even more sad is the fact that teenagers all over the country will buy this album, simply because they don't know any better and think that this is real music – and real rock at that. It's nothing but formulaic pop with drums, guitars and a droning singer – about as real as a cover song performed by a pop idol winner.