Fighters - One By One
Best Modern Rock Album
The following was originally published in our Buzz or Hype section.
Review by Dan Grote
If there’s one word that can describe
the Foo Fighters’ music best, it’s consistent. Their music is consistently
played on modern rock radio, the band’s three previous albums have consistently
sold well (not a one under platinum), and their songs, good for about three
singles an album, are consistently enjoyable.
Of course, that’s the Foo Fighters’ music,
not the Foo Fighters themselves. The band’s latest album, One by One, is
Dave Grohl’s fourth Foo Fighters album, Nate Mendel’s third (though technically
an original member of the band, Grohl hired his band after recording the
first album), Taylor Hawkins’ second (original drummer William Goldsmith
left shortly after the sessions for 1997’s The Colour and the Shape), and
Chris Shifflet’s first (Shifflet is the band’s third rhythm guitarist,
taking the place of Pat Smear and Franz Stahl).
However, it’s more likely than not safe
to say that the band’s line-up has finally solidified, giving Dave Grohl
plenty of freedom in the past year or two to… do everything but Fight Foo.
With the exception of a movie soundtrack single in the beginning the year
(Orange County’s, “The One”), Grohl’s most notable new millennium projects
have not involved his current band. These projects include waging a battle
against Courtney Love over the rights to release an unreleased Nirvana
song, as well as drumming for both Tenacious D and the Queens of the Stone
So the question is: Does Dave still have
the touch when it comes to his day job? Well, surprisingly enough, the
answer is yes. With One by One, the Foo Fighters have put out the hardest
rocking record of their career, even when you recognize the distortion-punk
wonderland that was Grohl’s 1995 debut. If nothing else, One by One is
a far cry from the pop-infused VH1 rock of 1999’s There Is Nothing Else
From the lead track/single, “All My Life,”
the Foo’s let loose a modern rock assault that announces their return to
business as usual. Grohl experiments with his songwriting technique a little,
changing the soft verse/loud chorus dynamic to explore fast-singing his
lyrics: “All my life I’ve been searching for something / something never
comes, never leads to nothing / nothing’s what I what feel when I’m getting
close, closer to the prize at the end of the rope.”
“Low” acts a great follow-up, with speedy
guitars explaining that the darker sound of the first song was not a fluke.
Gone are the quick and quirky songs of the Foo Fighters’ previous efforts.
There are no “Big Me”’s, “For All the Cows”’ or “To See You”’s on One by
One, no excuses for Dave and Taylor to dress up like women again.
There are more good songwriting moments
though, as when Grohl says on “Disenchanted Lullaby”: “No one has a fit
like I do / I’m the only one that fits you.” Then there is “Tired of You,”
Grohl’s Brian May-assisted declaration of fidelity, built around the mantra,
“I won’t go getting tired of you.”
VERDICT: Time and rock radio will determine
this album’s final fate, but the fact of the matter is that One by One
is the strongest showing the Foo Fighters have put forth in their seven-year
career, with darker songs that don’t put the band’s previous work to shame
but instead prove the band has a range that goes beyond goofy videos and
screamer choruses. Don’t be mistaken, the goofy videos and screamer choruses
are great; “Monkeywrench,” “I’ll Stick Around,” and “Breakdown” are great
songs, but this is good too.
Fighters - One By One
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