DOA - Foo Fighters (mp3)
Missing You Now - Foo Fighters (mp3)
Foo Fighters is, pound for pound, a better band than Nirvana.
They’re musically, instrumentally better. Grohl has a stronger sense of hook. His bite and jab are slightly less impressive than Mr. Cobain’s, and at his best Cobain was a better songwriter. The problem was, Kurt wasn’t at his best very often. Or for very long.
When people dare to make the idiotic statement that Cobain is some modern incarnation of John Lennon, they make an absolutely and unabashedly ludicrous claim. Lennon wrote more amazing songs in two years than Cobain wrote songs period. Good bad or ugly. It’s like equalling Harper Lee with Shakespeare or Arrested Development with M.A.S.H.
Foo have doubled up Nirvana’s curriculum vitae and are still going fairly strong. And yes, longevity and productivity have to be factored into comparisons between bands at this level. They are important, and Nirvana has neither.
Bleach really isn’t very palatable. Their final two are masterpieces or damn close.
Foo Fighters have at least three albums that, while not masterpieces, are superb albums. (For those who insist on specificity, it’s The Colour & the Shape, There is Nothing Left to Lose, and In Your Honor. Their first album is mighty fine as well, but just a smidge below these three.) Their weakest album, One by One, is vastly more accessible and more listenable than Bleach.
Some say Foo is a very gifted two-trick pony. Perhaps. Frankly, I don't enjoy when Foo Fighters slow down into ballad/quiet mode that much, so I'm only fanatic about one of their two specialties, yet I still categorize them as some of the best rockers of the last 15 years. Their two-album near-masterpiece In Your Honor very intentionally splits their personality in two, and I've bathed in the sonic assault of their first disc a dozen times for every one time I enjoy their quieter Disc Two. Which is still plenty incredible.
Ever seen Trainspotting? Remember that scene where the couple are so nonstop strung out on heroin that their baby starves to death in its crib? Fair or not, that couple seems inspired by Courtney and Kurt. Heroin is not, as best I can tell, remotely like alcohol. I don’t know many people fighting the variety of mental issues Kurt apparently had who can casually limit their heroin use to "only after the children have been tucked in for the night." Kurt’s cocktail of issues couldn’t have made him a very good father.
The mythology of a strung-out loser who had some legitimate musical flair and potential has so far outpaced the level of adulation he deserves that I stubbornly, perhaps unfairly, hold a grudge against his band. Meanwhile, Foo Fighters just have fun. Even when they’re pissed off and bitter and miserable in their music -- and dammit, they're exceptionally gifted at being pissed off and bitter -- they manage to carry themselves like they know they’re living a pretty awesome life doing something they are fortunate in doing.
One band is angry about life; the other was angry because life wasn't much worth getting through.
The first one is the better band.