Press Play – Album Reviews

America’s most famous thrash-band-turned-power-ballad-kings offer up this 14-track collection of singles as the first volume of their greatest hits.

Goo Goo Dolls Greatest Hits Volume 1: The Singles***

America’s most famous thrash-band-turned-power-ballad-kings offer up this 14-track collection of singles as the first volume of their greatest hits. Best-of collections are always plagued with flow problems, and ones consisting of just singles are often even worse. Even so, this collection does a decent job of feeling like an album. Since it’s only singles, it doesn’t have some of the great old Goo songs like “Don’t Beat My Ass (With a Baseball Bat),” but one can hope they are coming in volume two of their greatest hits.

Listening to these songs reminds you of why the Goo Goo Dolls are truly the modern kings of the rock ballad. Inspirational lyrics that can border on sappy are given a sense of authenticity by their tendency to include old acoustic bluegrass flavors along with post-grunge heavy guitar. For anyone who has never heard much Goo Goo Dolls, and it’s hard to believe that person exists, this is a decent introduction to their more popular songs.

Aaron Kelly

Magnet SchoolTonight We Drink… Tomorrow We Battle the Evil at Hand***1/2

Holy indie-rock-psychedelia crossover, Batman! This album sounds like something I’ve definitely heard before!

The innovation runs lean on Tonight, but the musical appeal here is as rich as can be. One part Dinosaur Jr., one part Texas is the Reason and a dash of Fuzagi make for this delicious indie dish. And where you’ve heard these guitar lines, drum fills and throaty lyrics someplace in the past, you probably haven’t heard them all done this well for 10 solid tracks.

To save some cheddar, buy this album, a month’s stock of booze and make your house the place to be Friday nights: Tonight captures perfectly the bassy, head-bobbing good-times vibe usually reserved for smoky live-music dives. It’s rare that a savings plan and great rock come together. Well done, Magnet School. Well done.

-Robert Seitzinger

Paula FugaLilikoi**1/2

American Idol fans may already be familiar with Paula Fuga. The Hawaiian-born singer made an appearance during the third season and was rejected after delivering her rendition of “Son of a Preacher Man.” Three years later she went on to record Lilikoi, her solo debut. “Tangerine,” the a cappella opening track, successfully demonstrates Fuga’s arresting, soulful voice.

Unfortunately, the album slips into a predictable procession of mellow Hawaiian grooves followed by ukulele-driven love songs. Lilikoi is the kind of album you want to hear as background music in a coffeehouse. Nearly every song is about a former or current lover, and given Fuga’s subtly discernible potential for genre blending, the instrumentation disappoints as it rarely deviates from song to song. Lilikoi is an inoffensive effort from Fuga, offering a limited sampling of reggae and traditional Hawaiian music. But unless you’ve been eagerly expecting Ukulele Hero: the videogame, you may want to pass.Paula Fuga plays at the Mission Theatre Tuesday January 29. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. 21+

-Jeff Hammond