Foo Fighters reunited with The Colour And The Shape producer Gil Norton, but the resulting album unfortunately ranks among the lesser Foo Fighters efforts so far. I’ve been thinking about it, and I think that there are three main problems with the band.
One is that they’ve strayed too far from their grunge/alternative roots. For example, “Let It Die,” “Come Alive,” and “But Honestly” all start slowly and eventually pick up a head of steam (and again by and large the band are much better at rockers than ballads), but all take too long to get going and never take off quite like I’d hoped. As for problem number two, I understand Grohl wanting the Foo Fighters to be a real band, but they were certainly better when he handled the drum parts (except on The Pretender track). Hawkins is a solid drummer but he’s simply nowhere near the same dynamic force behind the drum kit that Grohl is, and as a result subsequent albums haven’t quite matched the explosive pop of their first two albums. Thirdly, somewhere along the way Grohl lost his sense of humor; this guy has it pretty good, but there’s too much bitter fingerpointing on this album. That said, the current incarnation of the Foo Fighters still have their virtues. “The Pretender” and “Long Road To Ruin” can be added to the band’s growing list of terrific singles, and there are other strong efforts as well, such as the rocking “Erase/Replace” and the intense acoustic ballad “Stranger Things Have Happened.” “Summer’s End” and especially “Statues” have airy ’70s So. Cal vibes that I also find appealing, but I could live without the filler instrumental “Ballad Of The Beaconsville Miners” and the dreary finale, “Home.” “Cheer Up, Boys” is a perfect example of what’s right and wrong with the band, as it’s a standard surging melodic rocker that’s reliably pleasant and hard-hitting without being especially exciting.
I’m still glad that they’re around, as the band continues to do their part in making modern rock radio a little bit more listenable,