Are you a fan of The Goo Goo Dolls? Or a fan of a good love story? I recently saw The Goo Goo Dolls live at Universal Studios Orlando as part of Mardi Gras 2023 and it definitely brought me back to the 90s. They played so many classics including which in my opinion is their best song of all time, “Iris”. What a perfect time to remember this song, right before Valentine’s Day. “Iris” is one of the best love songs ever but do you know how it started and its true meaning?
The Beginning of a Great Work of Art
The Goo Goo Dolls vocalist John Rzeznik was asked to write a song for the 1998 romantic movie City of Angels with actors Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. This was a huge opportunity for the band because other big artists like U2 and Peter Gabriel had also been asked to be part of the soundtrack. So after an early screening of the movie, John Rzeznik began working on this awesome song.
John Rzeznik knew that the song had to be about love since the movie was a romantic one but he had to come up with a storyline. Writing songs was never easy for him. According to an interview that he gave, just to get started on the actual writing of a song usually took him a long time to prepare and brainstorm ideas. However, “Iris” came easy for him, he thanked God for it. Regarding the name “Iris”, while he was working on the song he read in a magazine that Iris Dement was going to be in town for a concern, he said he liked her name so he picked “Iris” for the name of the song.
The Meaning of “Iris”
The meaning of the song is directly connected to the plot of the movie, City of Angels. In the movie, Nicolas Cage’s character is an immortal angel but gives up his immortality for love. He chooses to become human so he can be with the one he loves.
John Rzeznik explained that when he wrote it, he was thinking about the situation of the Nicolas Cage’s character in the movie. Someone who is completely willing to give up his own immortality, just to be able to feel something very human, love. And so he thought, what an amazing thing it must be like to love someone so much that you give up everything to be with that person. That feeling is exactly what “Iris” is all about, the purest and selfless of all loves.
So, when he wrote: “And I’d give up forever to touch you / ‘Cause I know that you feel me somehow / You’re the closest to Heaven that I’ll ever be / And I don’t wanna go home right now”, in these lyrics John Rzeznik is speaking from Nicolas Cage’s character’s point of view. He gave up forever meaning gave up his immortality. That true love feels like being closest to Heaven without having to go to Heaven. He doesn’t want to leave his love in this world, so he says he doesn’t want to go home right now.
The song “Iris” brings a message of love the way it was intended to be. It shows a completely selfless love story and on this Valentine’s Day, let’s all be reminded of the things that truly matter in life. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Watch our YouTube Videos from The Goo Goo Dolls concert at Universal Studios Orlando on 2.11.2023: