The Top 9 Rock Bands Who Went Soft
Chapman Baehler Goo Goo Dolls: They weren't always this soft.
It's a tradition as old as pop music itself: A band discovers how much money can be made by crossing over to the pop market and starts crafting softer music accordingly. It has happened to the best of bands. Most of the time, but not always, this occurs when a band has sadly decided to "mature." Some people call it selling out. Often, the bands have merely gone soft.
Once this softening happens, there is almost no going back. One soft single and the next thing you know, it's an entire album of power ballads. Yet even when some of the best bands have gone soft, their soft stuff is usually a hell of a lot better than folks who started out that way. So in honor of one such band, the Goo Goo Dolls, playing at Gexa Energy Pavilion tonight, here are nine of the most prominent rock bands who went soft.
The Goo Goo Dolls
Have you heard Hold Me Up? That was the Goo Goo Dolls way back in 1990 and it was a rocking slab of pop/punk that sounded like a sober Replacements. But then came "Name," the super-soft single from 1995's A Boy Named Goo and the flood gates were released. Then came "Iris" from the City of Angels soundtrack and there was no turning back. The band hasn't made a decent album since and covering Supertramp (the limp "Give a Little Bit") was just plain wrong.
Speaking of those influential and often inebriated guys from Minneapolis, Paul Westerberg and crew had the indie rock world by the ear from 1981 until 1988. But guitarist Bob Stinson was kicked out in in 1987 and the decline was fairly rapid. 1989's Don't Tell a Soul and 1990's All Shook Down were both major downers that featured enough softness to fill a grade-A mattress.
Another Minneapolis band, another potential softy. Prior to hitting it big with the song "Runaway Train" in 1992, Dave Pirner and Soul Asylum had made some fantastic alternative rock, including such great albums as While You Were Out, Hang Time and The Horse They Rode in On. But after achieving success with a soft ditty about runaways, the band never made another good record.
This talented three-piece from Boston is the rare band that went soft, came back hard and then went soft again. From their self-titled debut in 1988 to 1992's Let Me Come Over, Buffalo Tom didn't let up on the alternative rock gas pedal. But then came 1993's Big Red Letter Day, an album filled with soft, over-produced tunes that somehow failed to send the band to the big time. Properly chastised, the band came back strong with 1995's Sleepy Eyed, but the last couple of efforts have been tepid to say the least.