Album Audit: Foo Fighters
It’s prime time to reacquaint yourself with the Foo Fighters back catalogue. Here are their their eight albums from the self-titled 1995 debut to 2014’s Sonic Highways ordered from worst to best.
8. In Your Honour (2005)
‘In Your Honour’ was Grohl’s pet project: an ambitious record that ultimately missed the mark. In an effort to break down preconceptions about the “Foo Fighters sound” the band released a two-disc album – one rock, one acoustic – and the result was their most inconsistent and overwrought to date. The heavier side was propped up by a handful of tunes (‘Best of You’, ‘No Way Back’) while the acoustic disc had few memorable moments. As Billboard concluded: “The Foos could have made one great album instead of two average ones.” – Sarah Smith
7. Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007)
Having lost the sonic balance of “sheen versus grit” so delicately achieved on The Colour and The Shape, Foo Fighters invited producer Gil Norton back into the fold for album six. Gone was the awkward song segregation of In Your Honour, in its place a band more sure of their sound and confident they could saddle pop (‘Long Road to Ruin’) alongside patented Foo riffage (‘Erase/Replace’). While some called it Foos-by-numbers, there were still one or two offbeat moments, like the multi-faceted bluegrass instrumental ‘The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners’. – Sarah Smith
6. Sonic Highways (2014)
Divorcing Sonic Highways from its road trip concept actually does it a favour – the tracks work best considered purely as Foo Fighters songs. The most you can say about the guest performances (and the cities which served as inspiration) are that their contributions are forced through a Foo-shaped prism, and come out the other side very much Foo-shaped.
Sonic Highways is, in its heart and soul, a Foo Fighters record. The production is slick and tight, bringing out the best of the band’s relatively straightforward songwriting. Save for the unfortunate ‘Subterranean’, this is an album full of classic Foo Fighters. – Liam McGuinniss
5. There Is Nothing Left To Lose (1999)
Tired of the LA party life, Grohl bought a house in, of all places, Virginia and converted the basement into a studio. You could say things were pretty chilled for the band – now down to three after the departure of guitarist Franz Stohl – with Dave even getting his Frampton on for the intro of ‘Generator’ (still one of the band’s best songs).
An album of stretching out and having fun. There’s a bossa nova-like beat in the verse of ‘Stacked Actors’ (an alleged Courtney Love diss); a tilt at radio-friendly pop on ‘Learn To Fly’ (not to mention a very memorable clip); and the country-ish ditty ‘Ain’t It The Life’, which was probably written on a porch. – Darren Levin