Got my hands on the latest Grammy-winning (for Best Rock Album) album Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace from the Foo Fighters; courtesy Jimi Hendrix (do check out his nice post on bird watching at JNU). Thought it’d be a nice idea to take a bit of a break in between the school exams to check this out.
I’m most certainly not a hardcore Foo Fighters fan. Damn, I’m not even a ‘lightcore’ fan of them. I do happen to like a few of their songs – like Learn To Fly! By far one of my most favourite songs till now. Even got featured (ahem, on a lot of insistence by me) in the Code Wars 2007 video. I can listen to that again and again again…and yet not get bored. That’s ONE groovy track.
With only that much of a background of an interest in them, I got down to reviewing their album. Trackwise review follows.
- The Pretender (rating – 4.9 / 5): At first thought, I didn’t like the way they switched from a very slow start to something quite fast; but somewhere down the line, I loved it – because it gels in with the title, The Pretender. And I’m not being sarcastic here. Got some pretty slick music mixing towards the end of the track. The first track is the best out in the whole album. BTW, this was the same song that they played at the Grammy’s. Also won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.
- Let It Die (rating – 3.1 / 5): A song which is confused about the message it wants to get across. With a VERY abrupt ending too. Soothing in the beginning, it switches track midway to go into a punk rock rant, and ends as abruptly as it switched. As if the singers decided, “Um, just let’s end the song here”.
- Erase Replace (rating – 2.4 / 5): People like Apoorv who seem to have discovered the phenomenon of beats only recently (bit odd, that) will love this track. Apart from that, nothing much makes this track stand out. You can safely erase and replace this song from your hard drive.
- Long Road To Ruin (rating – 3.8 / 5): Misses the point again. Too cheerful for something titled such – almost as if looking forward to the ruin. Catchy, in a twisted sort of way, if you can forgive them for that. Especially when you consider the fact that reviewing albums amidst school exams (like I’m doing) IS a long road to ruin. ;)
- Come Alive (rating – 4.2 / 5): One of the best tracks in the album. Predominantly slow paced, this one’s the sort of stuff you want in a Grammy-winning album.
- Stranger Things Have Happened (rating – 3.6 / 5): The longest track in the album. Comes closest to old school rock, at least to people like me on this side of the new millenium. Long stretches of instrumental in it.
- Cheer Up Boys, Your Makeup Is Running (rating – 2.3 / 5): Frankly, I still haven’t figured out what this song is all about; and that is something I don’t like – when a song isn’t clear about what it’s talking about. It’s a very good reason for why I hate ‘that rap shit’ so many people happen to like these days. This song had nothing to do with highly athletic cosmetic products, as far as I can figure out.
- Summer’s End (rating – 3.0 / 5): Not a bad song, as such, but it didn’t get me excited about it. Weird feeling. Sounds nice, but doesn’t generate excitement.
- The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners (rating – 4.3 / 5): Wasn’t looking forward to such an oddly-titled song. It’s completely instrumental. Being a sentient carbohydrate based life-form, even I can look beyond punk rock at times. Liked it.
- Statues (rating – 3.8 / 5): Idyllic song. Seems like if the track above this one had lyrics, this would be it.
- But Honestly (rating – 3.5 / 5): But honestly, I’d not have given this song even this much rating, if it wasn’t for the good accompanying instruments. The beginning simply murders the interest of the listener, but the song does try to redeem itself towards the end. Once again, I give it this rating ONLY because of the instrumental bits.
- Home (rating – 3.9 / 5): Pretty ‘feel good’ note song. Note my cuppa of tea, but I understand that many people will like this sort of stuff. Nice instrumentals too.
Overall, I’d say it’s not a album that I’d wait hours for at a store to buy, nor is it an album which I’ll throw away in disgust the moment I get it. Maybe most of the songs are simply not…my preferred genre. Yes, there were 1-2 brilliant tracks, but that’s hardly redeeming for me. By no means though am I saying it didn’t deserve the Grammy – it did, because it IS good music – just simply that it’s not my type.
Having listened to a whole album now (in its completeness) by the Foo Fighters, I can say now that for me, liking their song is a hit-or-miss affair. Most of their songs comprise a lot of ‘mood swings’ and / or changes in pace. Sometimes it works for me, and wows me. Most of the time, it doesn’t. When it does wow me though, it turns me into an addict of that song. At times, I’ve spent whole days listening to nothing but Learn To Fly in continuous loop.
Not an album to miss if you like the Foo Fighters, or like alternative / soft rock. People more heavier stuff are better off staying away for this one – you won’t hate it, but you won’t like it either.