Foo Fighters

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Foo Fighters

One by One (RCA) The Foo Fighters may still be most famous for their nightmarish "Everlong" video, but it was drummer Taylor Hawkins' near-death by OD last winter that scared the shit out of them. Frontman Dave Grohl ditched the flight-attendant outfits, traded his ubiquitous grin for gritted teeth, and got serious about rocking out. On the jet-propelled "Overdrive," arguably the most radio-friendly cut on this, their fourth album, he lays it all on the line: "We're going life or death." Credit Grohl's recent tenure as Queens of the Stone Age stickman with freeing the Foos from some of their more hyperglycemic tendencies (think first-album albatross "Big Me") but retaining their melodic instincts, e.g. the rafter-reaching "Halo." Better still is the pervasive tension of "All My Life" and "Lonely as You"; when it inevitably boils over, it does so with a vengeance. "Low," its brow extremely furrowed, exposes Grohl's roots in D.C. hardcore B-listers Scream; "Times Like These" verbally references Hüsker Dü's "New Day Rising" as the guitar suggests the Cult or U2's "Gloria"; and "Have It All" gives "Overdrive" a serious challenge in the whiplash sweepstakes. Finale "Come Back" tops them all with nearly eight minutes of lighter-waving, Monster Magnet-friendly stoner rock that pummels the listener into submission with Grohl's vow "I will come back!" By all means. Let's just hope it doesn't take another near-death experience for their next album to be this good.


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