Foo Fighters
The Colour and The Shape (Expanded)


4.5
superb

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
June 2nd, 2008 | 106 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More proficient & expansive than their debut, the arena rock evident here achieves wider appeal through consistency & highlight tracks. The addition of 6 B-sides from the time period improves the already excellent package when viewed as bonuses.

Originally released in May of 1997, this was practically the debut album of the Foo Fighters as a band, considering that the self-titled release from 1995 was basically a Dave Grohl solo project. In July of 2007, a 10th anniversary edition was released containing the original 13 tracks plus 6 B-sides. These 6 bonus tracks were made up of 4 covers in addition to 2 songs that never made the final cut of the LP (one of which was strangely the title track).

It is an understatement to suggest that this album has a different feel to that of the 1995 debut. ‘The Colour and the Shape’ is a more expansive album in almost every way imaginable, although bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better and there are quite a few pundits out there who believe that this album is actually a step back! With Producer Gil Norton on board, this 2nd release by the Foo Fighters has a polish to it that makes the earlier self-titled effort seem even rawer than it sounded in 1995. There is both a more radio-friendly sound to this album as well as an arena rock feel to it.

First impressions are not great here with ‘Doll’ being a waste-of-time 80 second opener that seems to have no purpose other than to make the follow-up, 1st single ‘Monkey Wrench’ seem even rockier than it is. Served up at a breakneck pace with excellent guitar and drum-work, Dave Grohl’s vocals may not be technically proficient, but they are especially effective on ‘Monkey Wrench’. The out-of-breath breakdown is a great example of this and a sign of things to come with regards to that arena readiness that I mentioned earlier.

The other point I mentioned in the second paragraph was the words “radio-friendly”. This description may then best be shown on ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’ which is interestingly structured and begins with a terrific and memorable guitar riff, before heading into safer territory vocally. Some would suggest the track has not aged well and the almost corny-sounding backing vocals could be quoted as evidence. However, the song builds up well and Grohl’s more intense vocals toward the end help immensely.

The choice of track ordering is a little dubious at this point in the album as linking ‘My Poor Brain’, ‘Wind Up’ and ‘Up In Arms’ may not have been completely wise. Individually, none of them are necessarily bad songs, but I wouldn’t call any of them highlights either. The latter track works the best of the 3 as it is intentionally delivered in an almost depressing fashion initially before turning into a brilliant hooky piece for the final minute. Then comes the centerpiece of the album; the fantastic 3rd single ‘My Hero’, which is strong lyrically and wisely places the emphasis on that strength. Again, Grohl does a great job in doing what is required to get the best out of the individual track.

Unlike some other Foo Fighters albums, this LP is thankfully not severely front-loaded. In fact, the remaining 6 tracks of this release are a real nice mix of everything that never falls into tedious repetition, even if some songs clearly work better than others. There are the acoustic stylings of ‘See You’ and ‘Walking After You’, both of which are very good, despite not reaching the charming heights of earlier effort ‘Big Me’. There is the slow emotional ballad that is ‘February Stars’ that effectively builds to a satisfying crescendo. And there are the slow/fast rockers that are the disappointing ‘Enough Space’ and the gimmicky, yet effective, closer ‘New Way Home’. Just a word of warning not to turn the volume up half-way through the latter!

Have I forgotten anything on the original release? Oh yes, some little ditty called ‘Everlong’. Gee, where do I start with this gem of a track? Arguably one of the most underrated rock songs of the last 20 years, this builds up beautifully both musically and vocally before being topped off by a practically perfect chorus that you wish would just keep repeating itself over and over! “And I wonder… When I sing along with you… If everything could ever feel this real forever… If anything could ever be this good again… The only thing I’ll ever ask of you… You’ve got to promise not to stop when I say when”.

The original release of the album stands up excellently on its own… But what of the 6 bonus tracks included on the 10th anniversary edition? Well, to say that it is a strange little mix is an understatement. But in an atypical way, it’s rather rewarding to see the band experiment to some extent. Beginning with the methodical & prowling Killing Joke cover ‘Requiem’, it’s a shape of things to come as Vanity 6’s ‘Drive Me Wild’ then gets the early days punk treatment with a little bit of robotics mixed in. Gary Numan’s ‘Down in the Park’ then makes an appearance as a moody and almost ominous piece that actually adds some layers to the original.

But while fans of the song may think it best left alone, the highlight of the B-sides is clearly the reworking of Gerry Rafferty’s influential ‘Baker Street’. Thankfully, none of the band picks up a saxophone in an attempt to mimic the original hook. Instead, guitar is used to give this track the same epic and memorable feel that the original song had without losing much of its attraction. Of the 2 original B-sides, I actually like ‘Dear Lover’ and felt it was a little unlucky not to make the album proper. I suppose at the end of the day, it may have been a little too similar to ‘Walking After You’. The extended album then ends with the full of feedback title track that is only so-so for mine, but may be liked by those looking for something a little different.

Overall, the Foo Fighters have clearly aimed for wider appeal with their second release and achieved it successfully without selling their soul. More proficient and expansive than their self-titled debut while also containing lyrical growth, ‘The Colour and The Shape’ shows a professional outfit at work as even the little things such as padding out 4+ minute songs is more efficient here. While there are a couple of misses on the album, they tend to be short and the strength of the highlight tracks more than make up for that. As for the inclusion of B-sides from around that time period on the 10th anniversary edition, one may feel that most of the 6 do not come up to standard as they are fairly experimental. But when viewed as bonuses – which is how they should be – they actually improve the total package!

Recommended Tracks: Everlong, Monkey Wrench, My Hero, Baker Street & Hey, Johnny Park!



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user ratings (262)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
jambieisme (5)
To all those pissed off reviewers. I apologize. This is a special album....


Comments:Add a Comment 
jrowa001
June 2nd 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

imo this is the only worthy FF album

AtavanHalen
June 2nd 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Morning, Dave! Love me some Foo Fighters and this review is pretty kewl.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

JROWA001, I do not agree with you that this is the only worthy Fooeys album, but you are indeed correct that this is their best (although many believe the debut to be).

Morning Dave... & huge apologies on the timing of my reposts coinciding with your Newton Faulkner review which I will be reading & feedbacking on some time shortly. The site being down yesterday threw my repost schedule out. That, plus going to the Story of the Year concert last night, hardly having any sleep and practically being deaf! Gonna be a fun day!

jrowa001
June 2nd 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i never really looked into their debut so iwouldnt know, but everything after this has been kind of boring or terrible (their last two)

AtavanHalen
June 2nd 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha, think nothing of it, my man. It's all gotta come back somehow. How were SOTY, by the way? Not a fan of their music at all but I've heard they put on quite the show.

Shrapnel94
June 3rd 2008


2213 Comments


I was just looking at this yesteday on this site thinking "someone should write a reveiw for this..." good job!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 3rd 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the positive feedback SHRAPNEL94.
Dave, SOTYear definitely put on a great show. They actually may be the most energetic band that I have ever seen, which is saying something. They heavy up their music to suit their fans but it is still accessible, understandable, etc... As an added bonus & because it was the last show of their Oz tour, they had a fair bit of fun on stage, which always helps the evening... Even if it meant they did not finish before midnight... On a Monday night!


Spamue1G
August 17th 2008


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is their best. Hands down no question. The debut was a good start, this was a peak, TINLTL was perhaps the worst, One By One was a slight improvement with probably their most awesome song ever on, In Your Honour was a logical step forward and came back to something near the quality of the debut, Echoes was much more different than people seem to give it credit for, with a darker sound than before, and was perhaps very slightly worse than In Your Honour. Only very slightly mind you.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 17th 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good summation of The Fooeys discography Spamue1G. Although I have TINLTL as a fair bit better than One By One.
I am 4 albums through their 6, with the remaining 2 reviews not too far away.

SimplyKickingAss
August 22nd 2008


20 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Classic, nuff said.

Mr0
September 1st 2008


24 Comments


I think this is the album everyone turns to because it has three of FFs best singles: Everlong, My Hero, Monkey Wrench. But it also has Hey, Johnny Park, New Way Home and February Stars aswell. A good album always has amazing album tracks.

Water
September 1st 2008


23 Comments


This is the best FF release, but its still pretty bad

NebSnurb
January 26th 2009


535 Comments


The reason I give this a 3.5 compared to the 3 I gave the original, is because of "Dear Lover" Such a beautiful pop song.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, I really like 'Dear Lover' too NebSnurb. In fact, I almost felt as if I had to attempt to provide a reason in my review as to why it was excluded from the album proper. The only thing I could think of was it being a little too similar to 'Walking After You' which I also really like.

gaslightanthem
January 26th 2009


5209 Comments


never have liked foo fighters This Message Edited On 01.26.09

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well that is obvious... They aren't Indie or post-hardcore. Hehe.

gaslightanthem
January 27th 2009


5209 Comments


lol davey

NebSnurb
August 3rd 2009


535 Comments


After listening to this once again, its real apparent that Taylor Hawkins is trying to be Dave Grohl.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 8th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Maybe. But it isn't exactly the easiest gig being a drummer in a band that is led by another drummer.

mitch91
August 8th 2009


412 Comments


Well Dave Grohl did record the drums on this album...

Digging: Restorations - LP3



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