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There is Nothing Left to Lose
Aritst: Foo Fighters
Label: Roswell/RCA
Time: 11 tracks/46:18 min.

Learn To Fly

Dave Grohl is a man that has more pop sensibility in his pinky than Kid Rock possesses in his whole body. The surprising part is that Grohl is a seemingly functional--dare I say "happy"?--guy, who brings hope to pop music at a time when it's in serious need of a lollipop and a pat on the back.

Along with his bandmates sun'n'surf drummer Taylor Hawkins and former Sunny Day Real Estate bassist Nate Mendel Grohl delivers There is Nothing Left to Lose in a time beset with rap-metal depression (Korn's Issues) and just-plain depression (NIN's The Fragile and Stone Temple Pilots' No. 4). It's a welcome dose of beautifully structured ballads and rollicking, riff-laden rockers that comes out swinging with the manic, awesome "Stacked Actors" and continues to inject the listener with musical medicine. It is relentless musically, but lyrically, Grohl's intentions and convictions take on a more abstract nature.

Grohl possesses an odd lyrical ability to be "positively pissed off." Over the course of three records, he has managed to rant and rave about all things bad, ranging from divorce to death, lacing potentially painstaking subject matter with a little bit of relief and a lot of tolerance. He seems to take the time to process his feelings before sharing them with the world, allowing for the bitterness to be balanced with a firm grasp on reality and a knowledge that "this too shall pass." Take this example from Nothing's first single, "Learn to Fly":

I'm looking to the sky to save me
Looking for a sign of life
Looking for something to help me burn out bright
It's vague in its faith, but clear in its longing. Despite the negative turns his life has taken, Grohl knows there is something more, and he's not quite ready to give up. These sentiments are reflected in the aforementioned first track, "Stacked Actors":
Hey, hey now, can you fake it
Can you make it look like we want
Hey, hey now, can you take it
And cry when they all die blonde
Stack dead actors, stacked to the rafters
Line up the bastards all I want is the truth.
A veiled reference to his late, former bandmate's wife? Possibly, but it's just broad enough to keep Grohl clean. Even amidst his venting, though, there's something refreshingly real about Dave Grohl. He's a believer waiting on something to believe in. There's even a little rhetoric on the nature of man in "Generator":
Call it sin, you can call it whatever
Eating deep inside of you
If it were me it's all I'd ever do.
Intentional? Christian-based? Probably not. But that's the beauty of music, isn't it? Its relevance and relation lie in the listener, and there is much to relate to here. There is Nothing Left to Lose is, for the most part, musical bliss. The high points are plentiful, most notably the trippy "Headwires", the lush pop of "Aurora", and the ballsy, brooding "Live-in Skin". Only "Next Year" (hurt by a drum-heavy mix) and "Ain't it the Life" fail to live up to the rest of the record. But, those lapses don't really matter. The Foo's have managed to do the single-hardest thing in rock music; they've grown yet not alienated. The maturation seems completely natural, yet the Foo's are still the Foo's - unmistakably and undeniably.

Scotty Teems 3/6/00



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