[Album Review] "The Colour and the Shape" – Foo Fighters

The Colour and the Shape - Foo FightersAlbum Title: The Colour and the Shape
Artist: Foo Fighters
Year: 1997
Running Time: 46m 52m

Track listing: 1 Doll; 2 Monkey Wrench; 3 Hey Johnny Park!; 4 My Poor Brain; 5 Wind Up; 6 Up In Arms; 7 My Hero; 8 See You; 9 Enough Space; 10 February Stars; 11 Everlong; 12 Walking After You; 13 New Way Home

You have a band, right? The band are one of the most popular things on the planet. You are making tons and tons of cash. Their is unrest in the band because your drummer would like to contribute more and sing a couple of songs. You disagree with him and you are close to splitting up. Then you commit suicide.

That is the story of Nirvana and in particular, ex-drummer Dave Grohl. Grohl sat in the shadows for years as the Nirvana tub thumper so when the band dissolved after the tragic death of Kurt Cobain, Grohl spent a year or so getting his new band together, Foo Fighters. He was apparently on the verge of quitting the grunge legends anyway and a lot of people would have questioned the wisdom in that decision. However, the evidence is now for everyone to listen to. Grohl is one of todays best songwriters.

The Foo Fighters first album (the brilliant “Foo Fighters”) was completely written and almost completely performed by Grohl showcasing what a talent he is. Their second album, “The Colour and the Shape”, is another testament to Grohl’s quality songwriting. There is a very obvious formula here but it is a magical formula which oozes energy, anger and, at times, passion. There is a definite progression on the second album with Grohl utilizing a softer sound a lot more frequently.

‘Everlong’, ‘Hey Johnny Park!’, ‘Wind Up’, ‘My Poor Brain’, ‘Enough Space’ and ‘My Hero’ are all top notch rockers, very much in the vein of the debut disc. The maturer transition though is very evident; ‘February Stars’ is a beautiful ballad, ‘Walking After You’ is in a similar vein only even smoother in sound and ‘See You’ relies on an acoustic rhythm with an undeniable hook.

‘New Way Home’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’ don’t quite make the penthouse but there is enough here to warrant a purchase without a doubt. The only question is, does Grohl have the ability to do it all again? The rock world will be a better place if he does.

3star

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[Album Revew] "Live Bootleg" – Aerosmith

Live Bootleg - AerosmithAlbum Title: Live Bootleg
Artist: Aerosmith
Year: 1978
Running Time: 76m 34s

Track listing: [DISC 1] 1 Back in the Sadlle [1976]; 2 Sweet Emotion [1975]; 3 Lord of the Thighs [1974]; 4 Toys in the Attic [1975]; 5 Last Child [1976]; 6 Come Together [1978]; 7 Walk This Way [1975]; 8 Sick As a Dog [1976]  [DISC 2] 1 Dream On [1973]; 2 Chip Away the Stone [1978]; 3 Sight For Sore Eyes [1977]; 4 Mama Kin [1973]; 5 S.O.S. [1974]; 6 I Ain’t Got You [1978]; 7 Mother Popcorn [1978]; 8 Draw The Line [1977]; 9 Train Kept A Rollin [1974]

Live Bootleg was a tongue-in-cheek effort to beat the bootleggers at their own game. The cover was decidedly amateur looking and came complete with a lovely coffee mug stain. Very good.

Musically, it is absolutely crammed to bursting with classics as you can see from above. The performances here come from a period when Aerosmith were visibly exhausted and suffering the effects of prolonged alcohol and drug abuse. It is fair to say that things don’t really sound as polished as they should for the most part.

‘Back in the Saddle’ is stormingly good and leads straight into the familiar ‘Sweet Emotion’ notes. The latter sounds painful in parts but it is hard to put a good song down you know. ‘Lord of the Thighs’ is patchy enough and Tyler almost disappears such is the strain on his corpse, ‘Toys in the Attic’ is occasionally ad-libbed both vocally and musically almost to it’s detriment but it still comes up smelling of roses and ‘Last Child’ despite Tyler’s drunken rantings manages to remain classic material.

‘Walk this Way’ and ‘Sick as a Dog’ finish up the first disc. ‘Walk this Way’ suffers from the original chorus that plagued the original album version but it only seems that way in retrospect now that we know what the new chorus style sounds like. It is nice to hear the latter in a live format and this pop ditty is performed authoratively although you can’t help seeing the irony when Tyler sings: ‘get your head out of the loo…sick as a dog…’.

A smashing cover of the Lennon/McCartney classic ‘Come Together’ fits in the middle of all this and seems to be the only song that is not performed live in a stadium but rather ‘live’ in a studio with a half dozen studio hands there to applaud it’s execution. Its excellent execution, that is.

Disc 2 starts in familiar territory. ‘Dream On’ is shoddy though with Joe Perry missing notes and Tyler sounding like he has just being drugged (which of course he probably had). ‘Chip Away the Stone’ gets a welcome outing too. Tyler crows about the love he can’t get but he won’t stop till he does: ‘chip away at the stone, I won’t stop till your love is my very own’. ‘Chip…’ is a feelgood band jam and is a band favourite but never actually got onto a studio album.

‘Mama Kin’ is a serious disappointment here. It fades in which is a bad start as the song normally benefits from sneaking up on you when you are not looking and the whole delivery seems lazy from all band members for what is the ultimate in energy and attitude. ‘Draw The Line’ and ‘Train Kept a Rollin’ are as competent as ever and it is also nice to see the inclusion of two songs you might not normally see on an Aerosmith live set, ‘S.O.S.’ and ‘Sight for Sore Eyes’; ‘S.O.S.’ is brilliant with riffs crashing in from here there and everywhere and ‘Sight for Sore Eyes’ is all the better for the crusty delivery that personifies the song anyway.

Two cover versions are included on this disc and were both performed on a radio broadcast in the early 70s. The incredibly cool ‘I Ain’t Got You’ (originally by The Yardbirds) is sassy and funky and James Brown’s ‘Mother Popcorn’ features a mature performance from Tyler.

This is without doubt a little bit patchy but is worth catching for the rare covers and the songs you will probably never see or hear Aerosmith perform live again.

3star