EW reviews the new Foo Fighters album
Rock critics have long debated the accuracy of Eddie Cochran’s famed assertion that ”there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.” Whether said condition is reversible or not, most agree on one thing: Catchy, heartfelt music is the best salve for the dreaded summer bummer syndrome (SBS). Which is why seasonal sufferers will welcome the fifth Foo Fighters CD, In Your Honor. The double-disc set is arguably the year’s first great hot-weather record, full of tunes as sunny and evocative as past goodies like ”Learn to Fly” and ”Times Like These.”
In a two-pronged attack on SBS, the Foos have made one disc electric and loud, the other acoustic and quiet — or, as I’ve come to call them, the outdoors and indoors sides. Outdoors tracks like ”Resolve” and the album’s first single, ”Best of Me,” pack an intoxicating wallop: 90-proof rock for 90-degree weather, they’ll sound terrific blasting from convertibles, open windows, boom boxes, and at barbecues and beach parties. Optimism, fortitude, and joy ring through the power chords. Even the back-to-back death-and-damnation numbers ”DOA” and ”Hell” somehow sound uplifting. (Spin ’em and tell me I’m lying.)
Speaking of death trips, aging grungesters are likely to grow misty-eyed listening to Dave Grohl howling lyrics like ”Never say forever ’cause nothing lasts/Dancing with the bones of my buried past” — a sentiment which, intentionally or not, evokes memories of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. (How odd to think that for some younger Foo fans, the fact that Grohl was Nirvana’s drummer in a previous incarnation means little or nothing.) Personally, I’d like to think the album’s title, In Your Honor, refers to Cobain, whose legacy as a hugely gifted songwriter Grohl is upholding beautifully.
The presence on the unplugged disc of the plaintive ”Friend of a Friend” — Grohl’s first-ever song, which he has said he wrote at Cobain’s house in 1991 — lends some weight to such conjecture. Dreamily melancholic, it sounds like an acoustic Nirvana outtake. ”We could just lay around/Stare at the ceilin’,” Grohl sings on ”Another Round” (which features former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones on mandolin), and that captures the mood nicely. Norah Jones turns up to sing and play piano to lovely effect on the bossa nova-tinged ”Virginia Moon,” while Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age adds some Segovia-like guitar to ”Razor.” It’s all very pretty — sometimes scarily so. In truth, though, you’ll probably revisit the rockin’ half more often. At least, until those first chilly days of fall. Outdoors: A Indoors: B+