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Take a break for a minute – even a day if you need to – & see if you can name a single other Goo Goo Dolls song besides “Iris,” be it another mainstream hit or an obscure B-side. Can’t do it, can you? Even the hardest of sad saps who lived through the nineties & early-noughties would be hard-pressed to think of a song more iconic than “Iris,” the band’s most famous song to date & a blueprint for the very essence of Soft Rock in the years to come – Written for the 1998 film City Of Angels, this song contains every element you’d expect from a Soft Rock tune, as it’s the most-cited example from which other Artists steal inspiration from; There’s vast, sweeping symphonic accompaniment in the form of a full orchestra, powerful guitar chords & dinky mandolin melodies that give the song an emotionally riveting sheen, a lethargically-paced rhythm that reinvents ballads for a Rock-based audience & an underlying notion of mental instability that outlines the fractured state of teenage minds during this generation. With such a cinematic sound & a larger-than-life narrative, “Iris” was pretty much destined to be a hit, allowing more emotional audiences to cry to the heart’s content & listeners who are less in-tune with their feelings to express themselves in the most badass way possible, at least as far as the moody vibe of the nineties is concerned.
Another factor in the song’s immense success comes down to its audience’s individual interpretations of the subject matter, full of perceived subplots of suicide & an intense view on love that was deemed almost stalkerish – You see, from vocalist John Rzeznik’s point of view, “Iris” is about Nicholas Cage’s character in the movie being willing to give up his everlasting immortality in order to experience the love of a mortal, a seemingly innocent narrative interpretation of the movie’s plot, but audiophiles & viewers saw something different entirely thanks to the accompanying music video. In it, Rzeznik is seen watching the citizen’s of the world from an observatory in some sort of attic or spire, keeping tabs on someone from the shelter of anonymity, something most viewers saw as a pretty predatory or stalkerish thing to do, like the character of Quasimodo banished to the church-tower in The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame; But this is then interspliced with scenes of the band playing in Los Angeles’ 2nd street tunnel adorned in dark clothing, an almost ghostly appearance that convinced viewers Rzeznik’s character is actually dead, watching the people of the world from heaven in an attempt to save them from a similar fate – Regardless of the interpretation, this song & its video were so captivating that “Iris” became the defining song of the millennium’s end, a tune that perfectly encapsulated the more emotionally-charged, aimlessly wandering energy of the era’s youth.

camjameson
Written by @camjameson from Extraneous Routes

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Song Info

"Iris"

Released

  • Mar 31, 1998

Wiki

"Iris" is a song by American alternative rock band Goo Goo Dolls. Originally written for the soundtrack of the 1998 film City of Angels, the song was later included on the band's sixth album Dizzy Up the Girl. The song's time signature alternates between 4 4 and 6 8, and features an unusual guitar tuning in which all of the strings are tuned to D, with the exception of the lowest string which is a B, lending the guitar a chorus-like effect.
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