Sympathy

Album: Gutterflower (2002)

Songfacts®:

  • Goo Goo Dolls singer Johnny Rzeznik wrote this heartfelt acoustic rock track during a dark period in his life when he was trying and failing to overcome his alcoholism. Looking back at the tune in a 2020 Behind The Mic episode with American Songwriter, Rzeznik said he regards "Sympathy" as a prequel to the 2016 Boxes single "So Alive."
  • Rzeznik was hesitant to address his demons so openly. Before Gutterflower hit the shelves, he confessed to the Los Angeles' Daily News: "The hardest thing to relate to is yourself. It's the most frightening thing to make an honest statement about yourself and put it out for the world to scrutinize. That's a dangerous place, but I have faith in myself and my music. If I get hammered, I don't care. I'll get up and walk away."
  • In 2019, Rzeznik still counted the track among one of his proudest songwriting achievements. "I'm proud of 'Sympathy' because it's the most honest, autobiographical thing that I ever wrote," he told American Songwriter. "I am proud that I kept it simple on the record. It could have easily turned into an overblown ballad but I thought it would take away from the real meaning of the song."
  • This was released as a promotional single and peaked at #10 on the Adult Top 40. It also bubbled under at #115 on the Hot 100.
  • This appeared on the soundtrack to the teen romantic comedy A Cinderella Story (2004), starring Hilary Duff. It was also used on the TV show Charmed in the 2002 episode "A Witch In Time."
  • The music video, filmed in Las Vegas, took a cue from HBO's Taxicab Confessions, a documentary series that captured intimate hidden-camera footage of taxi passengers. The band's former touring keyboardist, Dave Schulz, famously appeared on an episode of the show and - according to the Goos - got "liquored up and made some bad decisions." In the video, an "invisible" Rzeznik hangs out in a cab unbeknownst to the passengers who come and go.

    The clip was produced by Tony Bongiovi, a record producer (and cousin of Jon Bon Jovi) who co-founded the Power Station recording studio in New York City.
  • Gutterflower is the Goo Goo Dolls' seventh studio album and, peaking at #4, earned the band its highest position on the US albums chart.

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