It’s been a long time since we’ve had an installment of Discographically Speaking, but with Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters landing at Verizon Center on Friday it seemed like a good time for its return. An arena-filling band with seven albums to its name — perfect for this exercise. But then it dawned on us … wouldn’t this list just read like a chronological recap? Let’s find out, starting at the bottom...
8. “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” (2007)
Almost every successful band that lasts a few decades ends up with one album that has a title such as “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.” And invariably, that’s the album at the bottom of these kinds of lists.
7. “One By One” (2002)
The album that made you realize it was OK to not buy Foo Fighters albums anymore. Long, trudging songs that don’t sound like they have any real reason to exist.
6. “In Your Honor” (2005)
By this point it became apparent that Foo Fighters existed to write songs that sounded best as the soundtrack to an inspirational montage. And at least “Best of You” is really good at that.
5. “Wasting Light” (2011)
Album No. 7 seems about the right time for a “the band’s best since ____ !” storyline, and that’s what we got earlier this year. In reality, it means you may listen to it three times — as many as five — instead of once before unchecking it in iTunes.
4. “There Is Nothing Left to Lose” (1999)
The future path of the band was determined with this album, as Pat Smear and William Goldsmith (two guys with a long history in the punk underground) were out and camera-mugging drummer Taylor Hawkins (fresh off playing with Alanis Morrissette) was in. The band’s string of largely unimpeachable singles continued strong with his album.
3. “Pocketwatch” (1992)*
Some cheating here. In 1992 local indie label Simple Machines released cassette “Pocketwatch,” a cassette-only album by Late! It’s a collection of pre-Foos demos recorded shortly after Grohl joined Nirvana and, appropriately, it sounds like one of those nifty, lost-to-the-ages home recordings albums that were everywhere in the early-’90s. It contains an original version of eventual Nirvana b-side “Marigold,” an early version of eventual Foo Fighters song “Friend of a Friend” and some understated charm that’s found nowhere else in the Foos discography.
2. “The Colour and the Shape” (1997)
A lot glossier and considerably cheesier than the 1995 debut, with Grohl pushing his punk pedigree further away to embrace arena rock bombast. The hit to clunker ratio was still about 2:1, though. “My Hero” remains as hard to stomach as ever, but “Everlong” only sounds better with age. DC 101 should be mandated to play this song every hour on the hour.
1. “Foo Fighters” (1995)
There can’t be any real debate here. Barely a year after Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Grohl emerged as a fully-formed alt-rock force of his own. It’s a very strong album start-to-finish but the first four songs rank against any four in Grohl’s career — the manic grunge-pop of “This Is A Call,” the seething “I’ll Stick Around,” the disarmingly short, sweet and poppy “Big Me” and the thick drop-D assault “Alone + Easy Target.” In 2015 the band will play the entire album at a few special shows and you’ll love it like you were 15 years old again.