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Foo Fighters: There Is Nothing Left To Lose


Foo Fighters

Album: There Is Nothing Left To Lose
Label: Roswell/RCA

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Hundreds of bands have copped tricks from Nirvana, but Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl was there. He has a trained feel for which ones worked best, so he knows better than anyone that the key to a great Nirvana-style rock song is a solid pop framework that's built using indisputably catchy hooks and the dynamics of loud vs. quiet, hard vs. soft, and screaming vs. singing. It's a formula Grohl mined to masterful effect on The Colour And The Shape, Foo Fighters' woefully underrated 1997 song cycle chronicling his ugly divorce: The pain seemed to fuel a potent, electric energy, but the songs were masterpieces of airtight pop craftsmanship. Unlike the work of many generic rock bleaters, who follow the Michael Bolton school of bellowing to the rafters regardless of whether it's dramatically appropriate, Grohl's songs have a rawness that's made more powerful when the rage is tempered by sung vocals, pretty guitar lines, and buoyant pop hooks. That said, There Is Nothing Left To Lose is more or less content to tread stylistic water, adhering pretty closely to the sound fans have come to expect. A few more all-out barnstormers would have been nice, though the slick "Breakout" and the bitter "Stacked Actors" come close, and Grohl lends some nice atmospheric touches to "Aurora." But the record could have used more revelations along the lines of "Next Year," a lush, chimey mid-tempo ballad that finds the band conquering beautiful new pop terrain. There are far worse sins than sticking to a system that works, but in the end, Nothing Left is a little underwhelming. But even an unsurprising Foo Fighters record is better than The Science Of Things, the third studio album from the equally Nirvana-inspired Bush. Whereas Grohl and company emulate his old band's sly sense of humor and admirable penchant for pop, Gavin Rossdale's outfit takes a far easier route, nicking Nirvana's most easily imitated attributes: tortured vocals, cryptic lyrics, big guitars. That doesn't mean Bush can't write catchy songs—its first album may be a carbon copy, but it's an effective one—and tracks like the dramatic opener, "Warm Machine," work for what they are. But the album gets monotonous, melodramatic, and wheezy at a rapid clip. Both The Science Of Things and There Is Nothing Left To Lose adhere to established formulas, but the latter goes one step further by following a good one.