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Hold me up, the 3rd album by buffalo's finest marked a change in the bands sound which became there trademark through the 90's. The album drops the thrash punk approach of the bands first two releases ('first release' and 'Jed') in favor of a blend of messy punk riffs with a more melodic vocal style (brought on in part by John Rzezniks elevation to co lead singer) reminiscent of the Replacements and early REM, a style that set the bases for the pop punk and emo movements that became popular throughout the late 90's and early 00's
Hold me up is the album in which Rzeznik cemented himself as a song writter with very fine pop sensibilities. With songs such as 'Just the way you are' first single 'There you Are' and the acoustic 'Two days in February' containing pop hooks that would have been the envy of many mainstream acts of the time.
The album is a patchy affair compared to it's follow up 'Superstar Car wash' and is definitely the sound of a young band still finding there feet but none the less there are some fine moments of song writing on offer here and fans of melodic rock will definitely take a lot of positives from an album that was a blueprint of successes to come.
This album clocks in as the Goo Goo Dolls 3rd album after 'Jed' and the 'Goo Goo Dolls' and it perhaps shows a slight change in direction from the two previously more 'punky' albums. 'Hold Me Up' was recorded in 1990, so it is still incredibly early Goo, which is intriguing too. John Rzeznik has a nack for thoughtful lyrics and major guitar hooks throughout all the Goo Goo Dolls albums, and 'Hold Me Up' is no exception. Stand out tracks include the opening number 'Laughing' which harks back to their punk beginnings with Rob (bassist) on vocals. Rob's voice is much rougher than John's and not particularly to everyone's taste but now I think they balance the album out. Also, 'Laughing' has a killer bass line! 'Just The Way You Are' is a classic Rzeznik track, just musically excellent, lyrically heartfelt but still utterly rocking as is 'There You Are'. 'Out Of The Red' is much darker and slower, almost angry, fuelling many a day of teenage angst. Most of the time I find myself relating to Rzeznik's lyrics, but thats probably just a sucker for anything deep and meaningful. Other stand out tracks include a Prince cover 'Never Take The Place Of Your Man' which seems somewhat out of place on the album, but is quite an unexpected breath of fresh air. 'Kevin's Song' is a instrumental, discordant and a stroke of genius if you ask me, incorporating the use of a piano that speeds up and down without any seemingly obvious purpose. The last track 'Two Days In February' is an aucoustic number that is both personal and a decent ending to a decent album. This album isn't a total departure from the Goo Goo Doll's punk roots but it is hardly the same band that you hear on 'Dizzy Up The Girl'. Musically it is excellent and its only downfall is the poor quality of sound, but t
he tracks 'Just The Way You Are', 'Two Days In February', 'Laughing' and 'The You Are' have just been remastered and put on the Goo Goo Dolls best of, 'Ego, Opinion, Art and Commerce'. This album is certainly worth a listen if you are a Goo Goo Dolls fan already if only to see the progression and direction that led them up to 'Dizzy Up The Girl'.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Just The Way You Are
3 So Outta Line
4 There You Are
5 You Know What I Mean
6 Out Of The Red
7 Never Take The Place Of Your Man
9 On Your Side
10 22 Seconds
11 Kevin's Song
12 Know My Name
13 Million Miles Away
14 Two Days In February