Album review

Foo Fighters : One By One
Roswell Records / RCA

Foo Fighters : One By OneFor a while there it was looking touch-and-go whether we'd see this fourth Foo Fighters CD at all. Drummer Taylor Hawkins' 'drug issue', Dave Grohl's love affair with stoner rockers Queens Of The Stone Age and on-going Nirvana-related battles with Courtney Love all conspired to put the Foo Fighters future in doubt.
    So to discover whether the preceded hype has been justified . . . difficult for me as I never like Foo's albums when I first hear them - well not since the debut anyway. They are the kind of the band that disappoint me with their albums and then surprise me with subsequent strong single releases. So I've had to give One By One a little time to sink in . . .

My first reaction was that this is all a little safe and 'Foo Fighters by numbers'. This opinion hasn't changed since the first listen. First single All My Life is the most abrasive track here. The primal drumming and screaming riffs sound like, well . . . Queens Of The Stone Age actually. You can understand why Grohl went AWOL if this was what he had planned for his own band. And this isn't the only track that exhibits a Queens influence either; listen to the intro and lead guitar part on To Have It All or the song structure of Lonely As You. Most of this album was written after Grohl's drumming stint with QOTSA, and it shows.
    Times Like These is the strongest track here though. It's vintage Foo Fighters, combining wistful lyrics, strong melody and a catchy chorus. Nothing else here combines these elements as well. For fans of the band, think Everlong or Headwires. Pretty damn good then.

Yes, One By One is too safe, but so was the second half of There Is Nothing Left To Lose. That's not necessarily an album killing attribute though. Foo Fighters have stuck to what they know on this CD, and the lack of adventure shows. So not a great album then, but still a very good one. Many bands can't even manage that.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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