Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Foo Fighters: One By One

If Dave Grohl's value as one of rock's best drummers hadn't already been established throughout Nirvana's classic catalog, it was cemented on Songs For The Deaf, the terrific new album by critics' darling Queens Of The Stone Age. That smart hard-rock band's previous records were solid, but the addition of Grohl's bracingly muscular beat lifted Songs For The Deaf to a higher plane altogether. Foo Fighters, his post-Nirvana star vehicle, is similarly driven by its authoritative backbeat—it's got two famous drummers, Grohl and Taylor Hawkins—as well as an impeccable sense of bright, wide-open pop craftsmanship. (It's amazing how many Nirvana wannabes forgot that essential ingredient.) But aside from an irresistible ballad in "Next Year," 1999's There Is Nothing Left To Lose was surprisingly marginal and forgettable, especially compared to the ocean of emotionally resonant hits on The Colour And The Shape. Like Colour, One By One arrives amid considerable turmoil in Grohl's life and career, from Hawkins' near-fatal drug overdose to a bevy of well-publicized legal troubles with Courtney Love. But One By One is mostly middling, sticking to slick, pounding, functional rock that doesn't dig much deeper than the usual spleen-venting and loud-quiet brooding-to-bluster formula. The shiny power-pop of "Have It All" and "Times Like These" is easy to appreciate, and Grohl isn't one to drop any serious misfires. But The Colour And The Shape set the bar pretty high, and Foo Fighters has been crouching modestly underneath it ever since.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter