[Album Review] "One by One" – Foo Fighters

One By One - Foo FightersAlbum Title: One By One
Artist: Foo Fighters
Year: 2002
Running Time: 55m 2s

Track listing: 1 All My Life; 2 Low; 3 Have It All; 4 Times Like These; 5 Disenchanted Lullaby; 6 Tired Of You; 7 Halo; 8 Lonely As You; 9 Overdrive; 10 Burn Away; 11 Come Back

Dave Grohl’s big challenge since he emerged as a one-man band in 1995 has been to fulfill his want of playing hard rock music while at the same time embracing the mainstream enough to record chart hits and maybe grab a few Grammy nominations. Album #4, “One by One” will probably ensure that once again he has produced the correct result.

Unlike the brilliant raucous assault of his eponymous debut release, “One by One” balances the rock edge of “The Colour and the Shape” and the pop sensibility of “There’s Nothing Left to Lose”.

Throughout the album it’s obvious that lost love or relationship angst is the subject matter at heart. With screaming guitars, pumping bass line and the degrading, dismissive, almost demonic, cry of ‘Done done, I’m on to the next one’, ‘All My Life’ lives long in the memory while follow-up single ‘Times Like These’ rocks with a foot-tapping Cult-like riff, and a relatively more serene chrous.

‘Low’ is impressivley edgy and brooding while ‘Have it All’ could have been a leftover from the previous album’s sessions (not that that’s a bad thing). There’s plenty of cynicism on show too. ‘Disenchanted Lullaby’, a scathing love song with a malevolant message, leads nicely into the mainly rhythm gutar-only sound of ‘Tired of You’. It’s unmistakably Foo Fighters, totally immense and a real case of less is more.

But the Foo Fighters still write quality rock tracks. ‘Halo’, the robust riff of ‘Burn Away’ and the stunningly lean ‘Come Back’, the longest track on show at nearly eight minutes, are all fine examples of strong songwriting and musicianship. ‘Lonely As You’ stands on it’s brilliant chorus while ‘Overdrive’ is a bit more rock by numbers.

Overall, despite a lack of complexity, this is another excellent collection and evidence that Foo Fighters, against popular belief some years ago, are here to stay. Not just that but they’ll go down as one of the eras top acts.



[Movie Review] Donnie Darko

Donnie DarkoStarring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Patrick Swayze, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne
Director: Richard Kelly
Genre: Drama
Cert: 15
Released: 2001

Richard Kelly’s directorial debut is about sardonic but likable schoolkid Donnie (Gyllenhaal – “The Good Girl”, “October Sky”, “Highway”) who, during a sleepwalk one night, encounters a far-from-cute bunny rabbit – Frank – who tells him that the world is going to end in less than a month. Because the rabbit has saved his life (he lured from his bed just minutes before a jet engine crashed through the roof and into his room), he feels committed to obeying Frank.

And over the next twenty-eight days, Donnie carries out the various tasks that Frank asks him to do, including setting fire to a local TV celebrities house, flooding his school and vandelising a statue. All the while the clock is ticking and soon he believes his encounters with Frank are real, despite his psychiatrist logically believing them to be delusional. Donnie starts following clues that he thinks will explain everything but can he save the world in time?

With all the components present, “Donnie Darko” should be a revelation. The storyline unfolds at an astonishing rate and as one remarkable mystery after another reveals itself, you are burnt by curiosity, waiting patiently to see how it will all explain itself. And that’s exactly where “Donnie Darko” goes from classic to missed opportunity. It ends up answering nothing, and in fact making no sense at all. Richard Kelly’s original vision may have been exactly that and in a way it is a work of genius that he has achieved it. But a satisfying movie it doesn’t make.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance will catapult him into major stardom in no time. His good looks, sardonic wit and illustration of a determined young man who literally has the weight of the world in his hands, is hard to fault. He gets able support form the reliable Mary McDonnell (“Independence Day”, “Passion Fish”, “Sneakers”, “Grand Canyon”) as his tired but loving mother, and the effervescent Patrick Swayze (“Three Wishes”, “Father Hood”, “City of Joy”, “Dirty Dancing”) in a suprisingly strong turn as the righteous, positive-thinking, local celebrity, Jim Cunningham.

Kelly directs with zeal and the flat, irritating climax should not take away too much from his positive handling of the rest of the movie. Worth watching – but with caution. Don’t believe the hype and you’ll be just fine.