Songwriting Analysis: Goo Goo Dolls “Iris”

Goo Goo Dolls: Dizzy Up the Girl

Just another sappy power ballad – or is it?  If Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” was just that, it would have had a harder time being as impactful as it is — but a closer look reveals songwriting master touches such as:

  • Verse melodies that are smooth and low in range, perfect gesture for delivering intimate, vulnerable lyrics
  • Chorus melodies are actually a variation of the same verse melody, just an octave higher to create contrast and drama, but the sameness makes the melody seem more familiar and memorable
  • Going back and forth between 4/4 (intros and bridge) and 6/8 meters subtly keep audience engaged, without screaming “here comes the meter change!”