Written Before Listen
With the tragic death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, I think it’s about time to revisit a Foo Fighters record. One that I’ve yet to listen to. I’ve listened to a good 4-5 of their albums at this point, and despite not being a favorite of mine, I do majorly respect Dave Grohl because there are probably 15-20 Foo Fighters songs that are considered rock classics. “Big Me” is what put Foo Fighters on the map and is still probably my favorite Foo Fighters song to this day. “Monkey Wrench” and “Everlong” was probably the best things grunge had to offer after Cobain died, “My Hero” is one of the first songs you think of when it comes to Foo Fighters, “Learn To Fly” I will get to, “All My Life” and “Times Like These” showed the staying power of Foo Fighters in the state of alternative rock, “Best Of You” is home to one of the best dad rock memes of all time, “The Pretender” is one of their biggest hits and came 12 years after their debut and the song “Bridge Burning” is one of their best songs and it came a solid 16-17 years after Kurt Cobain died. If you remember, Foo Fighters released an album last year that I wasn’t big on and even then, songs like “Cloudspotter” and “Holding Poison” were bangers that stood out to me. With that being said, I do think Foo Fighters have their place in rock n roll, so when the drummer died, we lost one of the key members in one of the most important rock bands of the 2000s. Without further ado, Rest In Peace Taylor Hawkins, and let's get into it.
Foo Fighters Place In Rock
I think this review will be less about the album, but more about the Foo Fighters themselves, but with songs like “Learn To Fly” and “Breakout” on this album, it comes to show that this makes an album to remember them. I think no band comes close to the Foo Fighters when it comes to the stylistic sound mixed with commercial and critical acclaim. Foo Fighters are the essential Post-Grunge band and between you and me, they’re the only good one. It might be because their singer was part of the most successful grunge band ever. On the other hand, they’re not as successful as Nirvana, but they’re still more successful than any non-Dave Grohl-related grunge band. Let’s face it, Alice In Chains doesn’t have a song like “Everlong” in their catalog and neither does Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, or Stone Temple Pilots. Foo Fighters have “Everlong”, but like 4 other songs that are in the same status as that song. There are not that many 2000s rock bands that you can say that about. Let’s name them right now. Green Day, RHCP, and maybe White Stripes to an extent, but the Foo Fighters stayed relevant for a long time and necessary reasons.
Dave Grohl at the end of the day is just a lover of music. If you look at Dave Grohl's interviews, he will mention many artists. On their hardest songs, Dave tries to replicate the sounds of Hardcore Punk, Power Pop, British Heavy Metal, Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, and occasionally Jangle Pop and Emo. I think the big influences on the Foo Fighters sound were artists like Pixies, The Smashing Pumpkins, and REM. I think the dynamics of their deep cuts resemble those of the Pixies, I think the noisiest sides of the Foo Fighters resemble the most aggressive parts of The Smashing Pumpkins and the mellow songs resemble REM. I see hints of Dinosaur Jr, Jane's Addiction, and Sunny Day Real Estate as well. It comes to show that Grohl was a student of music and still is, and I do think he shows it on this album quite well.
This album was the first record with Taylor Hawkins on drums and Despite me enjoying Dave Grohl’s drumming the most, I think Taylor Hawkins is still one hell of a drummer. The fills are great, his dynamics are always necessary and the way they produce them is great too. Dave Grohl is a great guy but even he will admit that he isn’t the greatest guitar player and that is mainly why there aren’t any solos on this album. The bassist is just there. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that with this being the debut of Hawkins, he stands out as a musician on this album.
I was never the biggest fan of Dave Grohl’s songwriting abilities and that’s what usually makes me tend away from their songs. Dave Grohl always puts lyrical and topical cliches in his music with lyrics like “one of these days” and “learning to fly”. Luckily, the instrumental side of their music is what redeems them, but even then, it is nowhere near the skill of the grunge bands before them. I think songs like “Learn To Fly” and “Breakout” are classics but most of these songs just wane away from me.
This album was produced by Adam Kasper who is a producer who mixed for Soundgarden, Sunny Day Real Estate, Queens Of The Stone Age, Pearl Jam, and Ghost as well as an engineer for Nirvana, Aerosmith, and Weezer. I will say that this album is work from an experienced producer. The drums hit, the guitars are distorted and the low end is perfect. One thing that I will give Foo Fighters right out of the bat is that their best work contains some amazing production and with a sound like theirs, I think that is a must, so I'm glad they got exactly that…good production.
I wouldn’t say that I was the biggest fan of this record, but it made me understand why people loved the Foo Fighters so much. Dave Grohl is a great frontman, Taylor Hawkins is a great drummer and the production is top level. It's just a solid dad-rock record that happens to have some great music.