Friday , March 23 2018
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“Done & Done”

Gotta wonder what Dave Grohl thinks, deep down, about the recent release of Nirvana’s “‘Greatest Hits.” Damn thing comes out within weeks of his present band’s newest release – Foo Fighters, One By One (RCA) – so, naturally, the Nirvana disc is the one that receives all the press. For a band with its own solid discography of guitar-based pop-rock, that has to be frustrating as hell.
And yet, and yet . . . listening to the pop-focused Nirvana collection, I can hear the problem. When he wasn’t pissing on his own pop talents – or striving to establish indy cred by including well-nigh unlistenable tracks on the group’s discs – Kurt Cobain was a damn fine tunesmith. If the band produced only one fully solid studio album, well, that’s one more than the Doors ever did.
I’ve read several fannish slags of the new Nirvana collection (the best of which is probably Kenan Hebert‘s), and it’s understandable how such clear holiday product could inspire the wrath of fans. But I’ve personally been playing & enjoying the disc quite a lot over the last month. Removed from all the surrounding artsy noise experiments, the band’s Beatlesque tendencies come to the forefront. Not a bad thing, thinks this pop geek.
But how ’bout that new Foo Fighters’ disc? I like it a lot. Grohl and co. have developed their own strong alterna-pop sound – a little bit more metallic on the guitar, less vocal pleading & more straightforward lyrics – even if it does get a bit samey at times (Grohl clearly lacks Cobain’s range of vocal expressiveness). Shrieking opener “All My Life,” the melancholy “Tired of You” & power ballad “Lonely As You” are the instant standouts. But, as with all the other Fighters’ discs, the whole thing plays well all the way through.
I think of the Foo Fighters as grunge rock’s version of New Order: another band that rose from the ashes of their self-destructive leader’s demolition. May not be a glamorous as the original, may not have the fleurs du mal whiff about ’em – but they’ve sure got a good beat. If few of the band’s songs attain the level of transcendent pop bliss that Saint Kurt could seemingly summon up at will, that’s just the unjust draw of the Creativity Lottery . . .

About Bill Sherman

Bill Sherman is a Books editor for Blogcritics. With his lovely wife Rebecca Fox, he has co-authored a light-hearted fat acceptance romance entitled Measure By Measure.

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