Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Foo Fighters

  • Foo Fighters [Roswell/Capitol, 1995] ***
  • The Colour and the Shape [Roswell, 1997] A-
  • There Is Nothing Left to Lose [RCA/Roswell, 1999] *
  • One by One [RCA, 2002] B-
  • Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace [RCA/Roswell, 2007] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Foo Fighters [Roswell/Capitol, 1995]
the spirit is strong but the identity is weak ("This Is a Call," "Big Me") ***

The Colour and the Shape [Roswell, 1997]
Real band, real producer, real lyrics, real pain, and, very important, real talent--put them all together and a solidly satisfying formal exercise follows a vaguely vacant one. Dave Grohl will never sing, play, or care in the same existential realm as Kurt Cobain. But the marital breakup content/concept inspires him to fully inhabit the music that meant so much to him and millions of other Kurt Cobain fans. A-

There Is Nothing Left to Lose [RCA/Roswell, 1999]
Sound there, context vanished ("Stacked Actor," "Generator"). *

One by One [RCA, 2002]
Poor Dave. First he was going on about he had a right to sing da grunge. Then he was going on about his wreck of a love life. Now he's going on about going on. It happens to all of 'em--most of 'em, anyway--and rockin' harder than a motherfucker won't get 'em out of it. Pretty often, rockin' harder than a motherfucker is what got 'em into it. B-

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace [RCA/Roswell, 2007]
The real ageist scandal of this year's Grammys wasn't Herbie Hancock, who--unlike Natalie Cole and Tony Bennett in the long-lost '90s--won with the most artistically ambitious album nominee. It was this candid attempt to recapitulate Nirvana Mark II's 10-year-old triumph, The Colour and the Shape, a bonus-cutted reissue of which was released just two months before the Foos' ballyhooed reunion with producer Gil Norton, all of which can be read as the defiant professional credo of The Man Who Invented Nickelback. Kurt was a quitter, but Dave Grohl says he'll "never surrender," just like the download-combatting stalwarts who chose him over Daughtry and Bruce Springsteen. Sure, Grohl is hookier than Nickelback, which is saying something. But he's not as hooky as those bonus cuts, which include Prince and Killing Joke songs, or as intense as his 1997 self. And the well-rounded optimist will go along with the hooky up-and-at-'em of "Cheer Up, Boys" only till he or she notices the subtitle, which is: "(Your Make Up Is Running.") Those emo posers, how dare they? B