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GOO GOO DOLLS CAPTURE THE ESSENCE OF 'CITY OF ANGELS'

Pop music, at its best, can stir the spirit, move the soul and ease emotional burdens. That's exactly what the extraordinary "City of Angels" soundtrack album does.

The CD is being released today, and after seeing a preview of the film, due out April 10, John Rzeznik was inspired to write one of the best songs of his career.

"What moved me most about the film was how it presented a metaphor of the defenses we develop to protect ourselves and how taking a leap or risk is so important to really live, to really be alive," said Rzeznik, lead singer and songwriter for Buffalo's Goo Goo Dolls.

Rzeznik's song, "Iris," captures the essence of the film, which stars Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. It's about living to the fullest and coping with life after dreams and loved ones are gone.

On a soundtrack filled with such stars as Alanis Morissette, Peter Gabriel, Sarah McLachlan, U2 and Eric Clapton, surprisingly, it's the Goos -- Rzeznik, Robby Takac and Mike Malinin -- who offer the soundtrack's dominant track. "Iris" is an emotionally charged pop ballad that showcases Rzeznik's songwriting and singing talent and picks up where the band's breakthrough single, "Name," left off.

The Goos are expected to release their own album later this year, and "Iris" should be included. The song may also be released as a single.

Rzeznik's voice is layered with pathos and self-revelation. The track features a soft guitar and a gentle beat, enhanced by strings and a mandolin. The lyrics capture the despair and power in the movie.

Rzeznik's music is maturing far beyond rock band limitations, and that's why he and the Goos are becoming a major force in contemporary music.

Alanis Morissette is already an established superstar, and her track, "Uninvited," is a mystical, dreamy number that fits the style of her hit album "Jagged Little Pill."

Peter Gabriel displays his awesome talent on a somber and soulful "I Grieve." The number is a profound, intense sentiment about death and the loss of a loved one.

Gabriel's song is heart-rending and humane, and anyone who has dealt with death in recent months will be touched by it. "It's so hard to move on/Still loving what's gone/Still, life carries on," Gabriel sings with a sense of wistful mourning for what once was, but with courage to face tomorrow.

The rest of the album features previously released music, except for U2's spiritual remix of "If God Will Send His Angels." Other tracks include Grammy-winner Paula Cole's "Feelin' Love," Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and Eric Clapton's "Further on Up the Road."

A couple of standards, "Red House" by Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker's "Mama, You Got a Daughter," are also included.

Overall, the music sets a pensive and compelling mood. If the movie meets the standard of the soundtrack, "City of Angels" will be a blockbuster.

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