Hard to believe it, but at one point all the Goo Goo Dolls ever wanted to be was the Replacements -- nothing more than a ragged band playing kickass rock & roll along with the occasional heartbroken ballad. Of course, they were never as chaotic as the 'Mats; they were good guys where Paul Westerberg and company were ornery, unpredictable artists, prone to self-sabotage, legendarily throwing away their potential breakthrough gig on Saturday Night Live. That wasn't the Goo Goo Dolls. They never met an opportunity they didn't turn down, slowly morphing from baby Replacements to the cheerful rockers showcased on this 2007 compilation, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1: The Singles. This 14-track collection picks up the tale with 1995's A Boy Named Goo, which not so coincidentally is where the band abandoned its 'Mats aspiration and started being the alt-rock band that played by the rules (even then, Boy's breakthrough hit, "Name," is re-recorded here, the better to make it fit with the pop of their later years). Where all their peers shunned power ballads, the Goo Goo Dolls embraced them, slowly turning into a group that specialized in soaring ballads and anthems. Surely there was an audience for this, since the Dolls ruled the adult Top 40 charts throughout the 2000s as they kept refining and smoothing their blueprint out. They were reliable, they satisfied fans, and for those fans, this Greatest Hits will satisfy.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine