With their newest album, Concrete and Gold, releasing on September 15th, PCB would like to take you through the Foo Fighters’ entire recorded history. We are going to go through the catalogue, album by album, giving you some Foo Fighters history, a take on the albums and a few other tracks from that era that are worth checking out. Follow along and please add your comments below. Today’s offering is their 4th studio album: One by One.
Don’t let the simplistic album cover fool you, this was not an easy album for the group to record. Every band member felt that the studio recordings of this album were too focused on production and not on the music. Newcomer Chris Shiflett said their were days he would come in and not even play his guitar. It was a laborious process that caused the band to argue and ultimately throw out the entire record (now known as the “million dollar demos”). Grohl and the band re-record the album themselves in two weeks.
“We had already spent three months and a million dollars on something that we threw away. The difference between “All My Life” and “All My Life” was that this one cost a million dollars and sounded like crap, [while] this one we did in my basement for half an hour and became the biggest fucking song the band ever had.” –Dave Grohl
Album by Album: Foo Fighters
The track kicks off the same way almost every Foo Fighters’ show does with “All My Life.” The guitar part is hypnotic, luring you into a safe zone before kicking into high gear and making your heart race! Followed up by “Low,” “Have it All,” and “Times Like These,” all of which are killer! (Seeing a pattern here with their albums?)
Next is an often looked over track called “Disenchanted Lullaby.” It’s a great example of that “Foo Fighters’ sound” I keep mentioning. Taylor’s drums sound great on this song! I really like the production (or lack their of) on this album. It sounds slick yet raw which seems contradictory, but give it listen and you’ll see what I mean.
“Lonely As You” is another mellower song that has some great hooks and is an upbeat sad song that only a few artists can really pull off.
Heavy songs “Halo” and “Overdrive” are both awesome. Personally, I always think of “Overdrive” as the spiritual sequel to “Generator” from There Is Nothing Left to Lose.
“Tired of You” isn’t bad, but I find myself saying “Tired of You” before skipping it after about 3 minutes. It’s fine, but too repetitive to be over 5 minutes long.
The last two songs “Burn Away” and “Come Back” suffer this same fate. “Burn Away” would be great if it were 2:30 long instead of almost 5 minutes. “Come Back,” the longest Foo Fighters song to date at 7:50, is a good song plagued by a bunch of guitar solo bullshit in the middle. I wish there was a radio edit of this since I’m not a huge fan of that Santanna-style noodling.
I have to rank this album higher because the great songs on here are great and are always in heavy rotation on my Foo Fighters playlist.
Foo Fighters – One by One (2002) is an 8 out of 10 stars.
But wait… there’s more!
There are a few more tracks from this era that were left off of the album and were either released as B-Sides or bonus tracks on re-issues.
“The One” – Holy shit how is this song not on the album?! It’s become available as a single, but originally only released on the Orange County soundtrack. The One kicks ass and is easily in my Top Ten favorite Foo Fighters songs! If there’s one song you seek out from these lists, it’s this one!
“Walking a Line” – It totally deserves to be on this album too. It has been re-released as a bonus track on the special edition. Everyone is at the top of their game on this track. It would’ve been so much better instead of one of those 3 duds.
“Danny Says” (Ramones Cover) – They sound so much like the Ramones on this song, it’s crazy! Chris Shiflett does a really amazing job singing on this song.