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Foo Fighters - One by One Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 October 2002

Foo Fighters
One By One
format: CD
label: RCA Records
release year: 2002
performance: 8.5
sound 7.5
reviewed by: Bryan Dailey

ImageI have to just come right out and say it. I think Dave Grohl is more talented than Kurt Cobain. Who’d have ever imagined when Nirvana was single-handedly changing the world of music in the early '90s that the man sitting behind the drum kit, bashing away on grunge rock beats, would end up fronting a successful band of his own. Four albums into their career together, Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters continue to put out solid rock 'n' roll that plays well on both alternative and hard rock music stations and holds up better over time than Nirvana songs.
Foo Fighters used to be the Dave Grohl show. He wrote all the songs, played all of the parts and then found a band to take out on the touring road. However, things are different now in Foo Fighter land with their new album One By One. In the album's liner notes, it clearly states, “This album was made by Dave, Taylor, Nate and Chris.” Sure, Grohl is still the mastermind behind it all, but he allows creative input from all the band members, which is what has kept the band's music fresh over the years.

A muted guitar riff chunks along quietly as Grohl sings the opening lyrics to the album's first single, “All My Life.” By the end of the tune, the band has shifted gears up and down several times until they hit fifth gear during the outro, when Grohl is screaming the chorus, “Done, done and I’m on to the next one, done, done and I’m on to the next.”

Bringing the dynamics up and down is a Foo Fighters trademark. If the band just rocked at full throttle for the entire album, it would end up being mind-numbingly boring rock. Even the song titles are indicative of this roller coaster of dynamics and emotion. Near the end of the album, the band brings things down with “Lonely As You,” then rips it up on the aptly titled “Overdrive,” then takes it back down with “Burn Away” before ending the album with a song that begs you to play the album again titled, “Come Back.”

Queen’s Brian May partnered with the Foo Fighters back in 2000 to record a blistering cover of Pink Floyd’s classic tune “Have a Cigar.” May must have hit it off well with the band, because he makes an appearance on One by One, lending some of his signature guitar tone to "Tired of You."

In recent interviews, the band talked about how they initially went into the studio and decided they were going to nitpick every part of the album to make sure everything was perfect, but they quickly realized that wasn’t their style. Rather than obsess over every last detail, they decided to scrap everything they had done, took a break and came back to the studio a few weeks later to start over. The result is an album that is fresh, raw and devoid of an overly produced "candy ass" (according to Grohl) sound. They recorded the majority of the album in less than two weeks, added some bits and pieces over the next few months, had it mixed by engineer Jim Scott, then sent it over to legendary mastering engineer Bob Ludwig to put the finishing touches on it. It’s not a stellar-sounding album, but it's adequate enough to let the songs to the talking.

Grohl and company have also included a bonus DVD with the initial batch of Limited Edition featuring one new song ("The One"), as well as videos for "All My Life" and "Walking a Line" and a few other goodies, but if you don’t pick the album up soon, you may not be able to score this disc. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to get the DVD, the music is enough to make this a worthy purchase if you want some fresh music to rock to this holiday season.

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