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I woke up with the first line of “Iris” in my head. I haven’t heard one of the most popular songs of 1998 in years. But it got in there.

“And I’d give up forever to touch you”

It got it there and it got stuck and it made me angry. So, so angry. Why? Why did the first line from a band I’ve never seen or ever listened to make me upset? It may be because everything the song “Iris” represents is present in 2017.

I do not believe that John Rzeznik is a men’s rights advocate. The lead singer and guitarist of the Goo Goo Dolls appears to be a perfectly nice and sane man. He spoke out against Trump during the campaign to the detriment of his career. Some of the band’s earlier work is pretty good and sounds more like The Replacements and Soul Asylum (listen to “Long Way Down”) than what they’re known for in 2017. But it’s a slippery slide from heart on your sleeve dirty guitar sounds to heart on your sleeve adult contemporary. And that slide began with “Iris.”

The song commissioned for the City of Angels soundtrack (the 1998 film starring Nicolas Cage as an angel that gives up heaven to be with human Meg Ryan) and unfortunately named Dizzy Up The Girl Goo Goo Dolls’ LP is not good. It is a bad song. Nearly 20 years after its release, it’s still present, both literally and figuratively. Nearly every line is problematic. Each line is a potential piece of evidence in the note of a stalker.

The following is John Rzeznik’s lyrics and an explanation of why they’re not good. Very not good. Rzeznik’s words are italicized.

And I’d give up forever to touch you

Why are you starting a song with the word and? What are you giving up? I realize this is from the perspective of an angel but you’re putting too much pressure on the subject.

‘Cause I know that you feel me somehow

How do you know this? How can you prove this? Where’s the consent?

You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be

You were in heaven. You are a proven liar by the third line of this short song.

And I don’t want to go home right now

That’s fine. Don’t go home. But do not put your lack of a positive home life on anyone but yourself.

And all I can taste is this moment


And all I can breathe is your life

That’s extremely invasive.

And sooner or later it’s over

Correct. Everything ends.

I just don’t wanna miss you tonight

But what about the subject? Have you asked them how they feel?

And I don’t want the world to see me

Then maybe you should go home. Maybe do that thing you said you didn’t want to do. Self care is important.

‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand

Is your motivation for one person to understand or anyone else? Have you expanded your options?

When everything’s meant to be broken

Stop it. You’re an adult.

I just want you to know who I am

You have revealed nothing.

And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming


Or the moment of truth in your lies


When everything feels like the movies

This is a good line. It is not problematic.

Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive

Stop it. You are not Alice Cooper. You’re John Rzeznik and/or Nicolas Cage’s character in City of Angels.

And I don’t want the world to see me

See above.

‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand

“If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love anybody else?” -RuPaul

When everything’s meant to be broken

Untrue. So untrue.

I just want you to know who I am

You are demanding.

I just want you to know who I am

You have unloaded your unhappy home on the subject.

I just want you to know who I am

You have not considered anyone else.

I just want you to know who I am

You have given up actual heaven for figurative heaven without consideration for others.

It could be worse. At least the lyrics are gender neutral. We can’t be for sure that it’s about a white guy ignoring the rest of the world and actual heaven to get his rocks off. But I have a bad feeling that all of the junior high boys that heard this at junior high dances and weren’t touched by the objects of their affection are now men’s rights activists in their 30s that are really good at sharing news stories that fits their bias on social media networks.

Did the Goo Goo Doll’s “Iris” start the men’s rights movement? No. Did the song help shape it? Absolutely. Songs heard during puberty at junior high dances have more power than any cable news pundit.

“Naked” is still a pretty good song. Remember when every video was trying to remind everyone of the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video?