Tuesday, 14 September 2010

'Breathe out, so I can breath you in,' by @diaryofaledger

The Foo's don't tend to make great albums, cool, arse kicking singles aplenty but the albums tend to drift, lose their pace and fall short of classic.  All but one that is.  The Colour and the Shape was album two for Dave Grohl after the premature demise of Nirvana and it's here that those demons get exorcised.

It starts with the brief, gentle 'Doll' before jumping into life with 'Monkey Wrench' a stand out tub thumper of a song that's still a stalwart live.

Every track is win here.  Even now I look at the names of the songs and think, 'I'm not sure what 'My Poor Brain' sounds like,' before realising that I can sing along to every word.  Grohl throws titles out there into the wind, but the songs speak for themselves, powerful, emotive rock that yes, is undoubtedly a watered down, cleaner Nirvana, but one that works.  There's a humour in there, a dark one, but one that surfaces throughout.  Even the gentler songs, that sound like a respite from the noise, have there moments of energy and Grohl screaming his lungs out.

Six songs in and you could be forgiven for thinking that I'm lying to you.  That this isn't a classic.  'My Hero' is the rocket to the moon moment.  The song that starts lifting The Colour and the Shape upwards.  It's a great anthem, a great tribute to Cobain, a bromance of a track that just lives.

'See You' is fun, something different, almost pop and totally one of the best things they've ever done, it's almost a Queen song.  (In a good way.)

'Enough Space' has one of those great throbbing bass riffs I love that soon churns into a guitar before Grohl comes in all gentle, quiet, loud.  Bang.  Awesome.  It's followed by, the one that lost out and the one that won everyone over.  'February Stars' is a lovely track, really soft and warm throughout a great little love song that, naturally, explodes by the finish.  What comes next doesn't really need me to pontificate on, but I will, for a bit.

My favourite song of all time chops and changes all the time but 'Everlong' has been up there more than once.  The riff is perfection, a wall of sound, aggressive, feeding on itself whilst living inside one of the great love songs of our times.  At 3 minutes and 25 seconds, when it really takes off, the rolling drums and guitar powering at you, the relentlessness of it is breathtaking.  I've been moved to tears by it live, once by the acoustic version and once by the energy sapping jump along of the original.  Like the best Nirvana songs it can be stripped back to it's simplest form, losing absolutely nothing in the process.  You might think it's a cliché to love it.  That loving Everlong is like loving all those other rock power ballads from every other American rock band, but you know what, sometimes, just sometimes, you're wrong.

The last two songs barely matter.  'Walking After You' is a breather after Everlong.  A break up song with heart. 'My Way Home' is the goofy rock that the Foo's do best.  A cool way to end the album.

They've never bettered 'The Colour and the Shape', although their Greatest Hits is full of other great songs from other albums, but as piece of work it stands above the rest.  Grohl is a legend, one of the nice guys of the music industry and his band, that he built after the death of Cobain are, if nothing else, one of the best live acts I've ever seen, even if, generally, they make disappointing albums.

Dig this out and remember  when they made a great one.          

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