#1. “Black Balloon” from Dizzy Up The Girl – Definitely could be seen as “Iris” part 2, right down to the climatic string-laden middle section, but “Black Balloon” is a more complete lyrical thought.
#2. “Broadway” from Dizzy Up The Girl – A little piece of Buffalo, NY in an alt rock song. Everyone from the 716 knows the specific gloomy sentiment expressed here all too well.
#3. “Here Is Gone” from Gutterflower – One of Rzeznik’s very finest songwriting efforts, especially the uncharacteristically philosophical lyrics (“I thought I lost you somewhere but you were never really ever there at all.”)
#4. “Iris” from Dizzy Up The Girl – Rzeznik’s coming out party as a songwriter was on “Name” but as a vocalist it’s “Iris.” His powerful, angsty, dramatic tenor is what drives this song home and why no cover version can ever come close.
#5. “Let Love In” from Let Love In – Lots of dynamic balance and smooth, subtle layers inside of this one. Glen Ballard was a perfect production match for the Goos.
#6. “Naked” from A Boy Named Goo – The only song on my list with traces of the punk-era Goos but that’s really only evident in the somewhat sloppy performance. The song itself could easily have gone on anything from Dizzy Up The Girl on forward.
#7. “Name” from A Boy Named Goo – Of all the times Rzeznik has written from the wounded bird point of view (spoiler alert: it’s a lot), none are as poignant, as genuine, or as resonant as “Name.” For my money it’s the best song he’s ever written.
#8. “Slow It Down” from Magnetic – Magnetic is the band’s best top to bottom album and it’s because Rzeznik really opened himself up to outside writers for the first time. Songs like “Slow It Down” are bulletproof in their craftsmanship.
#9. “Sweetest Lie” from Something For The Rest Of Us – Just a great, down and dirty rocker with an infectious chorus. The first time I heard this song was when I saw the Goos open with it in their live show with it and it’s been a favorite ever since.
#10. “Sympathy” from Gutterflower – It was great to hear the Goos finally really go for a fleshed out acoustic track after several flirtations. A noticeable coming-of-age for Rzeznik here as well.
Honorable Mentions: “Slide,” “So Alive,” “Big Machine,” “Stay With You,” “Home.”