Artist – Goo Goo Dolls
Album – Gutterflower
Year – 2002
Genre – Alternative Rock
I think it’s about time I showed some love for the hometown boys. The Goo Goo Dolls came out that great period of the mid nineties that forged a brand of sensitive, honest songwriters. There are too many songs by them to name that resonate with me, but this one in particular hits me hard every time I listen. Gutterflower is their most under appreciated album in my opinion, but it’s full of really deep introspection that I really enjoy to reflect upon. So let’s start with “Here Is Gone.”
The quick and breezy acoustic guitar riff from the start sounds crisp and actually somewhat upbeat, but you can tell when singer John Rzeznik starts, he sound urgent and troubled. As he goes along, you can tell he’s singing to someone in particular, and it seems he’s had a troubled relationship with this person.
I’m not the one who broke you, I’m not the one you should fear
WHAT DO YOU GOT TO MOVE YOU, DARLING
The darkness and the way Rzeznik hits those lines, especially that last one just sticks in my head. It’s an outburst of anger and it’s an argument. It’s like he’s capturing the essence of fighting with a significant other in this moment, because that’s what it feels like. It’s a build up and then a release of something we wish we could take back, but judging by the title of the song, I don’t think the narrator wants to or can repair the damage done during these events.
I thought I lost you somewhere
but you were never really ever there at all
Now is that a heartbreaking line or what? A realization like that is hard thing to express in words, but Rzeznik has a way with his words. Like I said, crafted in the nineties. It’s here where the music picks up in intensity and the guitar really starts to echo and reverberate.
But this chorus, man. This chorus:
And I want to get free
Talk to me
I can feel you falling
And I wanted to be
All you need
Somehow here is gone
When you care about someone more than anything, you will give up anything to help them in their sadness and pain. I think I remember seeing a message in Kurt Cobain’s journal (as shown in the AMAZING Montage of Heck documentary. Seriously, go watch it) where he says “I will make myself miserable to make you happy.” Well I think that’s a true expression of love. Maybe not the healthiest expression, but one of the purest and most selfless in a way. I think this chorus captures that sentiment and more than that, the yearning to help and be that missing piece that partners are often described to be. Unfortunately according to that last line, it seems to have failed.
The music during this whole section is raucous and Rzeznik really belts it out here. The grit in his voice adds to the power of his singing and his words. When he hits the high notes in each line, it’s truly like he’s digging deep and bringing the sadness of his past to light for everyone to feel. I feel it. If you listen close, yo can hear the quick snap of the electric guitar strumming during the chorus as well. The drums just slay during this part as well.
Going through another intense prechorus is just as good the second time. Actually, the song only GAINS potency as you listen through each chorus. By the time you get to the wonderful melody of the bridge, you’re shouting and singing at the top of YOUR lungs, just like Johnny. That’s the moment of connection.
I know it’s out there
I know it’s out there
Somehow here is gone, yeah
This is one of my favorite parts of the song. The ambiguous nature of those first two lines really lets you add a great deal of your own meaning to the end of this song, which soars really high from the melody. What’s out there? Happiness? Sadness? Heartbreak? Love? Only you can decide for yourself. And that’s what music lets us do.
Thanks for reading and listening! Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts!