Goo Goo Dolls – Iris | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

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The roots of American rock band Goo Goo Dolls changed when they set out to create their 1998 track “Iris”. However, the song became the band’s biggest hit to date and one of the immortal songs in musical history.

Goo Goo Dolls wrote “Iris” for the soundtrack of the 1998 movie “City of Angels”, performed by Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. The film tells the story of an angel (Cage) who falls in love with a mortal woman (Ryan) and wishes to become human in order to be with her. John Rzeznik, the lead singer and songwriter, revealed that he wrote “Iris” with Nicolas Cage in mind.

Rzeznik spoke about the inspiration behind the song; “When I wrote it I was thinking about Nicholas Cage’s character situation in the movie. This guy is completely ready to let go of his own immortality, just so he can feel something very human. And I think, ‘Wow! What an incredible thing it must be to love someone so much that you give up everything to be with them. ‘ It’s a pretty heavy thought.

Rzeznik also admits that jumping on a different genre put him and the band on edge; “It was the first time we went to the studio with strings,” he recalls. “I remember kneeling in front of the control room window, looking at this 15-piece string ensemble, then looking at Robby (the bass player) and saying, ‘I really think we’re coming to a turning point here, and I don’t know if I want to ‘. “

“Iris” is about the emotions of a guy (an angel in reference to the film) who would be ready to give up everything just to be with the woman he is in love with. So much so that he’s ready to give up his immortality if that’s what it takes to be with her.

Watch the Goo Goo Dolls “Iris” video

Although the above is the official music video, the live performance below from Buffalo, New York, the rain-drenched hometown of Goo Goo Doll at night, appears to elicit more emotions.

“Iris” Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

Verse 1

The song begins with a link with the movie “City of Angels”, and more specifically with Nicoloas Cage who plays the role of an angel. As for tradition, angels are immortal. And in the eyes of this angel in love with a human woman, immortality looks like a small sacrifice to be with her. “Forever” in the lyrics is a reference to his immortality.

The angels continue to confess that this woman is the closest feeling to paradise he has ever known. “Heaven” in this context also comes with the idea of ​​“home”. Heavenly riches and the comforts of one’s own home are some of the most lucrative things one can ask for. Therefore, giving up a combination of the above two is proof of what this angel is giving up for this woman.

Verse 2

In the song’s second verse, Rzeznik sings about why this angel is so in love with this woman. The angel is intoxicated with her beauty and elegance. She is a breath of life that this angel loves to consume for the rest of his life. However, his life is endless and that of this woman is not. So the lyrics “Sooner or later, it’s over” talks about the impermanence of this love no matter what. If the angel remained immortal, he would see his love end one day. If he became mortal, they would die together someday. In his eyes, the latter seems like a better option than living forever with a painful memory.

The angel is more focused on the present than on the hardened end of this story.


The hook of “Iris” is one of the most beautifully crafted lyrics, and they are about love, the world, and the impermanence of life. The angel knows that his decision to become mortal would not be well received by other angels. An angel becoming human is called a “fall” meaning the descent to Earth from the heavens above and also the descent of morals and heavenly traits to the level of humans. Their love is not something everyone outside of their spectrum would understand and approve of. However, that does not stop this angel.

“When everything is done to be broken” the lyrics also emphasize that nothing lasts forever, even love. Everyone will eventually turn to dust at some point. But the angel swears that his love will remain undead until the inevitable day they leave this world. It is a comforting gesture extended by the angel.

Verse 3

The third and final verse of “Iris” is as powerful as the rest, even though it sings about the true nature of human relationships: pain!

Lies, deception, and grief are all part of human nature. This angel is also on the “descent” path towards humanity. These lines do not necessarily suggest that the angel’s love would change once he was human. However, the song oozes flaws in human relationships. More important to remember is that “pain” is also a great source of strength. If everything is going perfectly in life and it feels like a romance movie, what source could make a solid connection between people? There would be no effort on anyone’s part if he knew that everything would be fine in the end. But, in real life, that won’t be the case if you don’t work on it collectively. And it strengthens relationships and bonds. So in some cases the pain helps. It makes you feel more alive, more human, and more immortal. It makes you realize that you have little time to make amends.

Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” has stood the test of time for the emotions poured out through the band’s lyrics, vocals and performances.

Let us know what you think of this song, and your feelings towards it, in the comments below.

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