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 redub with nothing amiss. Worst of all, 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 seem quaint.
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