Track By Track
An album that came out on the year of my birth, The Colour And The Shape, despite it’s problems behind the scenes, turned out to be one of Foo Fighters’ best albums. This is them breaking out of Nirvana’s shadow in a way, obviously Nirvana can never be replaced but this album proved that Dave Grohl and co. could produce more than just grungy music.
Despite the quality of the music, life behind the scenes wasn’t so enjoyable for the band with drummer William Goldsmith leaving the band after his parts were re-recorded by Grohl himself and then lead guitarist Pat Smear would leave the band soon afterwards, rejoining as a touring guitarist in 2005 and a full-time member in 2010 but despite it’s troubled production, The Colour and The Shape turned out to be a really memorable album.
One of the few tracks that features Goldsmith’s drumming, the only song where Goldsmith drums in the full song, not much consolation considering the song’s only a minute and a half long. The song gives a depressed vibe to it, not many opening tracks have that but it would’ve been even better had it been a bit longer.
If Doll is one of the most depressing FF songs than “Monkey Wrench” acts as a mood whiplash. One of my favourite FF songs of all time, the whole song is very catchy and Grohl’s vocals are incredible the guitars, bass and drums gel together so well. The style is more pop punk than grunge in a way (I might be the only person that thinks that) but it ain’t a bad thing. I can’t hear “First Date” by blink 182 without thinking of the “Monkey Wrench” riff. Some aspect of “Monkey Wrench” influenced my band Vague Reality’s song “Pip”.
Hey, Johnny Park!
One that isn’t talked about as much as other songs on this album, Hey, Johnny Park! is about a childhood friend of Dave’s of whom he lost contact with. I like how Dave still uses the “quiet verse, loud chorus” dynamic, one that was used in Nirvana a lot. This song inspired me to write a childhood friend song of my own.
My Poor Brain
Another song that uses “quiet verse, loud chorus”. “My Poor Brain” is amongst my favourite songs from this album. I love how it goes from angelic to aggressive in the space of four lines, it’s incredible. Compared to other Foo Fighters songs, this one is extremely underrated in my opinion.
Clocking at exactly two and a half minutes, it’s quite a short song but unlike Doll, I don’t think it ends prematurely, I think the loud drums at the beginning are a highlight, Grohl’s singing is amazing, it might’ve not been as good on the debut album but here it’s clear that his vocal style evolved.
Up In Arms
Another shorty, probably put in to fill space on the album. I like how it starts slow and lacklustre but after the big drum fill it speeds up and it pretty much comes to life.
My second favourite Foo Fighters song behind “All My Life”. Lyrics and music are just incredible from drums, to bass, to guitar, to vocals. Incredible. My band’ve covered this song live and while the structure sometimes caught us out, it has a brilliant message to it, that not just famous people but ordinary people can be heroes. Dave Grohl also does a good acoustic version of this song at the BBC Live Lounge session. It’s just a beautiful song through and through.
This song proved that Dave and co. could write more than just aggressive, grungy, heavy songs as this song is well pulled off. Nate Mendel plays a walking bass in this song, in a way the song’s almost blues/jazz like, it has the blues backing and Grohl’s singing too. It might not be the first song you think of when you think of Foo Fighters. But it gets you in a good mood.
Holy shit! The music in this song is incredible, from the shift in dynamics to the irregular metres to Nate Mendel’s bass riff, it’s a shame it’s so short. I would love Foo Fighters to open with this song at a gig sometime but they have too many songs! It’s a song you can jump up and down too, perfect for a European audience!
A song that was written before Kurt Cobain’s death, February Stars has a slow but gradual buildup to it, Grohl first demoed this song with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. To be honest, it’s not my favourite song on the album but I know it has a deeper meaning in there somewhere but kinda makes up for the two minute songs.
David Letterman’s favourite song, “Everlong” is one of FF’s most popular songs, if not their most popular. Like “Monkey Wrench” it has a sort of a pop punk vibe to it. The song itself has a brilliant guitar riff that starts of quiet but gets louder and louder and an insane drum rhythm as well. “Everlong” is actually behind “My Hero” and “Monkey Wrench” on my favourite songs on the album but it doesn’t take away from what a good song it is.
Walking After You
An acoustic song, “Walking After You” is just beautiful. It’s a song that whenever I here it, I’m on the verge of tears. Written about Dave Grohl’s ex-wife, Jennifer Youngblood. I can see why they don’t play this one live! The song featured on X-Files with Pat Smear’s replacement Franz Stahl adding guitar parts. The acoustic guitar on this song is just beautiful, it’s a break from electric guitars. I always picture this song on a desert highway somewhere. It takes you to a different place. Like “My Hero”, it’s a beautiful song through and through.
New Way Home
The final track on the album, “New Way Home” might sound like your average FF song on the first two minutes but I like its buildup at the end, starting quiet with whispered vocals and building up to the loud ending.
Foo Fighters’ The Colour And The Shape (1997) has to be one of their best albums. I can’t say it’s their best as in my opinion there’s one I think that’s neck and neck with it.
This album was brilliant as there’s more of a variety of songs. You knew what you expected with Nirvana but you’ve got a range of styles from acoustic to progressive rock to jazz! This album was the turning point for Foo Fighters as they slowly began to emerge out of Nirvana’s shadow, and despite the controversy between Grohl and Goldsmith and the troubled production, Foo Fighters were becoming a very successful band with this album and it would soon be followed by other great albums.
Review by Andrew G. M. Greig