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Complacency is a cruel mistress and she has found her victim in Goo Goo Dolls.

The Buffalo-area band best known for making songs you can’t get out of your head comes up short with its latest album, "Something for the Rest of Us."

Sure, there are the medium-paced rock hooks at play. And indeed, lead singer John Rzeznik still maintains one of the best rock voices in the business. But he has no sandbox to play in here. The melodies melt away into intangibles, a morass of muddled instrument delivery and songwriting that has succumbed to vagaries.

Gone are the smart musical subtleties that Goo Goo Dolls delivered with their hit songs "Iris" and "Black Balloon" a decade ago. Here they rely on formulaic chorus buildups and a soft wall-of-sound in search of a romantic comedy soundtrack.

On "As I Am," Rzeznik is thrilled that his mother (daughter, lover, dog?) takes him as he is, foibles and all. It’s unclear what his faults are that are being overlooked, or who is doing the overlooking. These are lazy lyrics at best.

It only gets worse on "Nothing Is Real." The band sounds too tired to play at a more energetic pace, the guitar work plodding along as Rzeznik pleads "Someday I’m gonna get this right/ Gonna find a better way/ I want to lead another life."

The songwriting is poor and unable to attach itself to a tangible subject or theme. Rzeznik’s voice sounds fine, but good luck trying to figure out what he’s singing about for the majority of these dreadfully boring tunes.

— Ron Harris, The Associated Press
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