Review Summary: Dave and the crew really show promise with this intro into the music industry as the Foo Fighters. The record is not for everyone, but people looking for some nice hooks and catchy riffs, will be content with this album.
Dave Grohl, the drummer from grunge icons Nirvana, was greatly saddened at the loss of band mate Kurt Cobain, but still wanted to make music. He had an itch to start a new band, so he brought together the Foo Fighters. This is the Foo’s first strike into the mainstream of modern music. How did it work out? Is this anywhere close to Nirvana? It looks like there is a lot of mystery behind this album, or at least at the time it was released. So many people wanted to see what Dave could come up with, and what they got had some mixed criticism with fans and reviewers alike.
First thing I want to note is Dave’s voice. Dave’s voice, though fading as he gets older in my opinion, is really good. His voice really can bring out the emotion in certain songs. Basically put, he knows how to use his voice, and when to use it. His wails on the record are nice, his soft singing is relaxing. I only dislike vocals on one or two of the songs on this record, which I will get to later. It also seems he is trying to hard in some tracks. The guitars are very muddy and distorted in the recording. This is very close to a muddy sound, almost like a Nirvana sound, just not as disturbing or random. A perfect example of this is the intro to Exhausted
. The intro guitar is very muddy, and frankly, it suits the song perfectly. The guitars usually have the same tone except in several openers or songs, which isn’t a thumbs up at all. The drums are pretty exceptional. It’s obviously not up to Grohl standards in Nirvana(IMO), but they definitely hold their own on the record. The drumming style varies, from soft, to loud, to almost a punk-ish sound(Can anyone say the intro to Good Grief
?). The least impressive instrument, in my opinion, has to be the bass. The bass work has shining moments, like the almost groovy bass line of Big Me
. Other than that, and a couple of nice riffs in Oh, George
, I fail to notice the bass most of the time, and me being a bass player, just kinda gets on my nerves. This record was recorded ONLY by Dave Grohl. Later, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, and William Goldsmith joined the band, and they started the journey of the Foo Fighters.
The record has some really glorious moments. Who can forget the infamous Big Me
? When I first saw the video for the song, I started cracking up because of the whole concept of Footos. Sadly, this would plague the Foo’s the rest of the time, getting Mentos thrown at them whenever they played this song. This song showcases a very present bass line, which really sets the mood. The melancholy guitar is backed by Dave’s smooth vocals, delivering a song that is very relaxing and easy to listen to. Unlike the rest of the album, soft guitars and drums are present, but this combination really shows that you don’t have to scream your head off to make a good Foo track.
I’ll Stick Around
also shows great promise. You know once that drum roll starts and the guitars kick in with the heavy riff, you’re in for a treat. Dave’s vocals are great on here, with a relaxed approach in the verses, and his near-screaming style in the chorus and bridge. The song repeats several times, but it never seems repetitive, quickly changing through riffs and parts of the song to keep the listener entertained. Another good song that really shows the angry side to Grohl, with him shouting “I don’t owe you anything!”.
The last song, and my personal favorite, Exhausted
, starts off with muddy guitars and a very melancholy melody. Dave comes in with melancholy lyrics, showing just how sad he can make the song, even if the lyrics don’t make too much sense. The feedback in the middle before busting into the main riff again is the only gripe I have about this track. It gets a little monotonous after awhile. The catchy riffs and vocals are something I’d also like to note. I’ve caught myself humming several songs from this very record. The songs get stuck in your head and you can’t help but sing along at certain points, but the songs never get too
catchy to where they just get obnoxious. It is the perfect mixture. The song placement is also good, having equal good songs at the start and finish, though the start has stronger songs to keep the listener entertained. X-Static
is also a promising track, but sadly the whispered vocals by Grohl just get to used on that track, making it lose the appeal after 5-10 listens. The sudden explosion on For All the Cows
is also really good, showing the Foo’s can surprise you with sudden changes in songs, which works for them I might add.
There are, of course, downsides to this record. First thing I would like to mention, is how sometimes the vocals can just be plain out obnoxious. The tragedy of what we call Weenie Beenie
is the most obnoxious track I think I’ve heard from the Foo’s. I mean it just seems like Grohl is screaming with a distorted voice for anger, but it comes off being annoying. The guitar riff also gets annoying after hearing it a couple of times. They showed better anger in I’ll Stick Around
, and that track seemed effortless. It seems they’re trying to hard on this. Also, on Good Grief
, the verses sound really promising. But when we get to the chorus, it sounds like they brought in a Rob Zombie wannabe to do the vocals. I couldn’t stand the chorus, and since the verses last so long, they lost their appeal, making this track not so great to listen to.
Sadly, repeated sections plague this album, especially in Floaty
. It’s only a 4:30 song, but it seems like it lasts two times that when you’re listening to it. I have to strain myself to listen to the end. Again, there is a strike of genius in this track, with the acoustic opening being one of the most promising things on this record. If they made an acoustic-electric song out of this, I would probably love this track. I also have a problem with the way this record doesn’t have that much replay value. Once you’ve heard all the songs, you don’t really want to listen to it over and over again. The final gripe I have about the record is how it seems that the songs mesh together at times, almost sounding identical in certain parts. I have trouble remembering which song is which when describing them to someone after I listen to it.
All in all, this record shows promise for the Foo’s. This record also sets them up for their most successful and (IMO) best record they’ve done, The Colour and the Shape
. The record shows that Grohl knows what he is doing and what genius he can brew up, but that he still needs to refine certain techniques in his studio work. His promising ideas could’ve easily been made into a fabulous record. I would recommend this to anyone that has heard the Foo’s before and are looking for a fresh record. For those that are unsure or haven’t listened to the Foo’s, I would download the recommended tracks I will give you. I bought it because it seemed everyone praised it, but sadly, it didn’t work out for me that well.
-I’ll Stick Around
-For All the Cows
Thanks for reading! :)