Foo Fighters - S/t

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"Performed entirely by Grohl, except for additional guitar work from Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli on the song “X-Static,” Foo Fighters exhibits a bracing can-do spirit in keeping with Grohl’s do-it-yourself recording style. Although he may be a one-man band, Foo FightersFoo Fighters also alludes to external conflicts that Grohl wants to overcome. With its fighter’s attitude, Foo Fighters doesn’t feel insular or malnourished. Instead, on dynamic, assertive rockers like “I’ll Stick Around,” Grohl sounds like he’s tearing down the walls, stating his independence and claiming his own turf. “I’ll Stick Around” wields an antagonistic streak – the chorus goes “I don’t owe you anything/I don’t owe you anything” – but some of the rest of responds to the pressure of living up to what Nirvana achieved by simply constructing one perfect rock song after another.

A Surprisingly Melodic Voice

But while it might have been assumed that Foo Fighters would contain its share of up-tempo rockers, the real surprise is how confidently melodic the album is as well. From the pop-leaning ballad “Big Me” to the jaunty, silly “For all the Cows,” Grohl mixes up his assault, throwing sonic changeups that both cleanse the pallet and vary the album’s approach. Also unexpected is Grohl’s vocal range, showing vulnerability on the towering “Floaty” and genuine weariness on the aptly-titled “Exhaustion,” which builds to several furious guitar blowouts. We knew he could scream, but as he proved on Nirvana’s hushed MTV Unplugged in New York, he can actually sing, too. Foo Fighters allows him a great showcase for that voice.

A Little Filler

The second half of Foo Fighters contains some mild filler. “Weenie Beenie” is such a mindless cavalcade of big riffs that it feels less like a song and more like the sort of background music pumped into sports arenas to get the fans fired up. Equally, “Wattershed” is a spastic two minutes of anguished yelps and desperate guitar shredding that sounds like Grohl’s nod to his roots in punk bands. Neither song drastically detracts from Foo Fighters as a whole, but their deletion would have made for an almost flawless record.

Instantly Compelling

Foo Fighters may not be as distinctive as Nirvana’s best work, lacking the incisive lyrical detail that made Cobain a legend, but as a collection of instantly compelling songs, it has few peers. Dave Grohl has walked out of the ashes of a terrific band and started all over again. One of the great things about Foo Fighters is how he makes that transition seem effortless. "


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