By Jeff Leven
Dave Grohl has got to be one of the most magnanimous and accessible figures in modern rock and has continually proven the quality of his instincts. Faced with the angst and gravitas of Nirvana’s legacy, Grohl had the sense to steer away from expectations and into the delightful hard pop of the Foo Fighters, who, if they’d done nothing more than record “Everlong,” would be rightly cherished. As Grohl’s songwriting has evolved to play to the strengths of his resonant singing voice, the Foos have increasingly become a schizophrenic mix of Dave’s thrash-punk-metalhead past (witness recent side project Probot) and his more anthemic pop tendencies. Having struggled to artfully square the circle with One By One, it was high time to take the logical step and release In Your Honor, a Jungian double album with ten rockers and ten softer, more melodic numbers spaced over two discs. The results are truly satisfying, with intense tunes like “No Way Back,” ballads like “Cold Day in the Sun” and a collaboration with Norah Jones (this less than year after an album featuring Grohl playing with Venom’s Cronos) that actually works. A stunning display of versatility and a stack of good songs. Fight on, you crazy diamond.
By Jonah Flicker
For a band that makes some of the blandest, radio-friendly, MOR rock this side of Collective Soul, the Foo Fighters get a lot of respect. Sure, it’s savvy to release a double album at this point in their career, but In Your Honor is a neutered attempt at emotive pandering that falls a thousand miles short of awesome. Dave Grohl’s overwrought power chords and riffage—and his constant switching between screamed and whined vocals—plague this set’s ?rst disc, while the second is chockfull of sappy, acoustic, “sensitive” tunes. The Foo Fighters can’t have it both ways. In fact, they have a hard time having it either way. Every attempt to rock on the first disc gets bogged down in clichéd lyrics and limp fist-pumping songs like “Best of You.” The second, soft, introspective, boring disc contains a sequence of campfire songs for the emo-hearted that’ll make you wish they’d at least return to going through the motions of rock. The Foo Fighters are constantly given undue praise because of Dave Grohl’s barnstorming work with Nirvana. Well, the rest of the Foos are damn lucky Grohl left the drum kit behind for his current frontman posturing, because without him, they’d just be another alterna-rock band in an overcrowded landscape—a position they seem to be jockeying for anyway.