Thursday, 19 December 2002

Album Review: One By One

The stories leading to the extended gestation period for this LP have made it the most eagerly awaited Foo Fighters release to date. Taylor Hawkins' brush with mortality and Dave Grohl's sojourns with Tenacious D and the Queens Of The Stone Age seem to have reawoken the Foo Fighters. Grohl has always known his way around a decent riff, but one has wondered whether or not he had it in him to make a truly rocking LP. One By One tells us that the answer is a defiant "YES!".

Straight from the blocks the album attempts to blow the listeners eardrums apart. The album's opener and first single All My Life is a genuinely great rock record and possibly the Foo Fighters best single to date. Low rattles along at such a pace, it is clear that the band have rediscovered the focus that seemed to be missing on their previous LP There's Nothing Left To Lose. Every note seems to matter, and on Low and the following track, Have It All this urgency and focus becomes clear.

Grohl also proves that his skills in writing ballads has improved too. Tired Of You is the most haunting song Grohl has yet to write. Grohl whispers over a stark guitar line (from Brian May of Queen no less), "Is this just desire or the truth?". It's certainly one of Grohl's finest moments as a songwriter, and a worthy centre point for the album.

The only criticism of the album might be the quality control. Halo limps along without actually doing anything and 'Lonely As You' is fairly average. However, two mediocre tracks from eleven isn't a bad hit rate.

What One By One proves once and for all is that the Foo Fighters are a great band. It shows two fingers to the critics who have suggested that the only reason for their success is Dave Grohl's iconic status in rock music. The newly-rejuvenated Grohl puts it best on the recent single Times Like These when he affirms us, "It's times like these you learn to live again." A spectacular return to form.

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