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CD Reviews: Review of In Your Honor by Foo Fighters
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Foo Fighters: In Your Honor (RCA 2005)

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They’re baaack! Fresh off getting their hearts wrecked by last year’s presidential election results, Dave Grohl and his fellow John Kerry-supporting comrades chase overtime pay with a gallant double disc, half rock and half acoustic, called In Your Honor. Whether the title itself is a tip of the hat to Kerry or his fallen campaign is anyone’s guess. Suffice to say, however, if the Massachusetts Senator was to politics what the Foo Fighters are to rock n’ roll, he would have carried Ohio and Florida easily and been residing on Pennsylvania Avenue today.

“I got another confession to make / I’m your fool,” Grohl whimpers in introducing “Best of You”, the first single and video here, which made an appearance every 30 minutes on VH-1’s “24 Hours of Foo” the weekend prior to the album’s release. It is a fine song, but like most Foo Fighters albums, In Your Honor is more about the overall body of work than the solitary flash. The rumbling rhythm section of Taylor Hawkins and Nate Mendel takes center stage on the opening, and title track, as Grohl wails, “Can you hear me? Hear me screaming, breaking in the muted sky.” The dramatic, slow-building progression recalls Led Zeppelin (and not by chance), while the explosive full-band detonation in the final 30 seconds evokes “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” The Foos were quoted recently as saying they hope this project stands as their Physical Graffiti. “In 20 years,” Grohl foresees, “when some kid asks his dad, ‘You ever hear of Foo Fighters? Which record should I get?’ They should say In Your Honor.”

While there are plenty of epic moments within the hard rocking first disc -- “No Way Back” and “DOA” are surefire hits in waiting -- the decision to bundle such work with a calmed down, even somber, all acoustic disc ultimately restrains the larger effort from being legendary, ala Physical Graffiti. Note to Dave: There’s a reason Zeppelin never released an acoustic album, and it’s the same reason Barry Manilow never did a heavy metal record. In fact, if they must make an acoustic record, they would have been better off reworking older material. Remember Grohl’s dazzling stripped-down version of “Times Like These” a few years ago?

Instead, disc two is washed out and mundane by any standard, but especially when using the Foo Fighters’ measuring stick. Each ballad here, from the sleepy “Still” to the lifeless and drawn-out “On the Mend,” pale in comparison to their upbeat, rock n’ roll counterparts so that one is left questioning the second disc. They even corral Norah Jones to posture on the dreamy, back seat love song “Virginia Moon,” and the result is about as awe-inspiring as a hidden track on one of Jones’ albums. To the disc’s credit, “Cold Day in the Sun” and “What If I Do?” should have been included amongst the hard rock material on a one-disc, 12-song release. Then, and only then, would we be drawing comparisons between any Zeppelin record and In Your Honor.

~Red Rocker 





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