(Capitol/Roswell Records 4 July 1995 )
It seems weird to look back and realize that in 20 years the only Foo Fighters album I’ve owned is their self titled debut. I remember picking this up in lieu of a patriotic souvenir on my 8th grade trip to Washington DC along with Korn. I meant to get The Color and the Shape, but never got around to it. Plus, with the Foos being the biggest band in rock at the moment there is almost something inherently ‘uncool’ about them. I mean, to be as popular as they are there must be something wrong with them right?
As far as I can tell, no. The Foo Fighters are an uncommon instance of a band being great and really popular at the same time. This hasn’t happened a lot in my experience, but somehow they’ve managed to pull it off.
The first three songs on Foo Fighters were also their first three singles. I’ve always loved the way the album opens, that’s the sound of an electric guitar being plugged in if you didn’t know, and then it’s off to the races. “This Is A Call” is one of those rock songs with occasional quiet parts, but the quiet parts in that song rock harder than the heavy parts in some other songs. “Big Me” is one of those great songs that manages to put a smile on my face any time I hear it. It’s just so upbeat and bouncy. I almost want to put a smiley face emoji here to describe it.
“I’ll Stick Around” and “Alone + Easy Target” both seem somewhat stock to me now. They’re still good songs, but there’s nothing that really sticks out about them.
A lot of the other songs feature great singalong choruses and interesting guitar parts that you wouldn’t expect from the drummer of a rock band. I”m guessing this blew a lot of minds when it first appeared in ’95. I remember an acquaintance saying, “Dave Grohl should just give up. He’s never going to be as big as Kurt Cobain.” I think it’s safe to say he can eat those words by now.
“Weenie Beenie” and “Wattershed” surprise me by being more hardcore punk than I ever thought possible from the eternally affable Grohl, but he can scream with the best of them. During the chorus of “Good Grief” he just screams ‘I hate it.’ “Oh, George” features one of my all time favorite guitar solos. It’s not flashy at all, but that’s precisely the reason I love it. It serves the song instead of the guitarists ego.
If you’re not familiar with “For All The Cows” you need to remedy that right now. Something about the riff and clean chords makes this one of the best Foo Fighters songs ever. (Well, at least in my limited experience.)
Both “X-Static” and “Exhausted” are great slow rockers that would be great closers, but it was “Exhausted” that won the draw and gets to end the album. I’m glad I didn’t have to choose between them.
I suppose the reason I’m still a fan of the Foo Fighters even though they’re the biggest rock band in the world and sell out massive stadiums is that unlike most other rock bands there is never a sense that this is about money for them. Some bands (Kiss, Metallica, Taylor Swift) can really turn me off by saying how much they want to make a profit, but Dave Grohl didn’t need any cash when he recorded this album. He’d already been the drummer for the biggest rock band on the planet so there was no reason to go out and be the singer for the next one.
But by keeping it fun and focusing on having a good time he managed to do just that.
On a side note, I’ve had a short science fiction story published in the magazine ‘Robbed of Sleep.’ If you’d like to check it out here’s a Kindle Link and here’s one for a Print Edition. If you’re curious about what my short fiction is like check out my other blog The Sewer.
For more Platinum Anniversary Albums: