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Foo Fighters One By One

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Wednesday, November 6, 2002 @ 1:28 AM


(BMG)

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Love him or hate him, regardless of what you think of Nirvana, you gotta admit that Dave Grohl is one talented motherfucker. From his legendary status alongside Mr. Kurt, to his recent stint as drummer extraordinaire in Queens of the Stone Age, to the power and pop of the Foos, the man has certainly proved her is a bad dude. While some may argue that drumming is his true talent, his works with the Foo Fighters consistently proves that he is just as good of a singer/songwriter/guitarist as he is a skinbasher.

Whereas their 1995 debut and 1997 follow-up (Colour and the Shape) were primarily power-pop-punk based with occasional blasts of metallic crunch, and 1999's There Is Nothing Left To Lose delved into harder, moodier territory, their current platter finds the Foos in full-blown hard rock mode, complete with razor sharp riffing, buzzsaw guitar grind, and plenty of headbanging wallop.

From the opening strains of the QOTSA-influenced "All My Life" you can tell Grohl and Co. are in all-out bruiser mode. The song features jarring dynamics, heart-stopping stop-starts, and an unforgettable chorus that easily qualifies it as one of the best singles I've heard all year. "Lonely As You" and "Have It All" continues on with the hooks, meshing Beatles melodies with surging power chords. "Disenchanted Lullaby" is another highlight, with it's Alice In Chains style harmonies and dark mid-tempo vibe, slightly reminiscent of "All Apologies." Filled with lyrics of heartbreak and disillusionment, it's the kinda track that helped fuel the grunge movement back in the day, yet doesn't sound at all retro here.

"Low" and "Overdrive" add some punk flavor to the mix, and showcase the might of the rhythm section brick shithouse that is drummer Taylor Hawkins and bassist Nate Mendel, "Burn Away" on the other hand is just pure heavy metal (albeit with some whispy, poppy vocals), with it's KISS sounding guitars and arena rock riffing. The last track, "Come Back," combines all of the above mentioned styles and directions into one hook-laden monster closing coup de tat that is all at once heavy, heart wrenching, and delicate. Not too many hard rockers can pull all that off in one song these days…

Though he might argue this point himself, what Grohl does best is write songs. He's a smokin' drummer, a solid guitarist, and a terrific singer, but where the really shines is behind the pen. One By One proves this in spades. Like the best before him, Grohl knows the value of a good hook and realizes the power of both a whisper and a scream, power and restraint, beauty and violence. I know everyone says Nirvana was a one-man show, but the quality and breadth of the Foo Fighters work is starting to demand that folks re-think that theory. There's just know way you have a drummer that great in your band who happens to write great songs and sing, and NOT have his influence seep in.

* * * * 1/2


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