So Alive

Songfacts®:

  • Goo Goo Dolls singer Johnny Rzeznik wrote this contemporary rock tune about his longtime struggle with alcoholism and the positive changes he made in his life that helped him embrace sobriety. "I made some really, really good decisions and some changes over the last 18 months," he told the Huffington Post. "About three months into getting sober for the 50th time, I realized that I had no coping skills because every time I felt something that was uncomfortable, I would just drown it. So sitting there were all these immature, childish, out-of-control emotions and needs that have never been really addressed or taken care of and put aside so that I could actually grow up. They were staring me right in the face. I couldn't take a drink or take a pill to make it go away. And it scared the shit out of me. I kind of flipped out from it... That's what the song is all about. Being alive is painful. Feeling things is painful."
  • Rzeznik was especially committed to overcoming his addiction because his life was about to change in a big way. In December 2016, he became a father for the first time when his daughter, Liliana, was born.
  • This is the lead single from the Goo Goo Dolls' 11th studio album, Boxes, which finds the alt rockers exploring new sonic territory, which led to the song's modern, R&B-inspired groove. Rzeznik discovered a whole new world of music when he collaborated with EDM artist Cash Cash on the 2016 track "Lightning."

    "You start listening to a lot of different music… I was fascinated with how different their world is from mine," he explained in a 2016 radio interview. "Sometimes you climb up your own ass and disappear, so I decided it was time for me to learn new things and expose myself to new music and new machines and ways to make rhythms. I had so much fun, learning from everybody, working with engineers and musicians literally half my age."
  • Rzeznik wrote this with Derek Fuhrmann and Gregg Wattenberg, the songwriting team behind American Idol winner Phillip Phillips' hit single "Gone, Gone, Gone." Wattenberg also co-wrote the Goos' single "Let Love In."
  • Goo bassist Robby Takac told chorus.fm the story behind the album title. "The honest truth is we had finished the album pretty much and we were going through all the songs that were on it," he explained. "Our manager always says the concept of keep it short and simple so people can remember it, although Dizzy Up the Girl and A Boy Named Goo aren't necessarily short titles. Anyway, he said try to keep it short and find something people will remember.

    We went through all the song titles, and once we came across the title 'Boxes,' you know a box is empty. It can be full of anything you want. To us, the imagery of that was pretty cool, and the idea that it can be whatever you want it to be, because boxes are just empty things you can put whatever you want into. We thought it was a cool concept."
  • This was used in a 2017 BMW commercial to amplify the excitement of drivers speeding around in various BMW models on a race track.
  • The band returned to their hometown of Buffalo, New York, to film the music video, which was shot in the city's vast Central Terminal. The clip, directed by Todd Bellanca, stars 2015 Women's National Golden Gloves champion Kristen McMurtree, who enters the ring to fight against her most formidable opponent: herself.

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