This week, we look at one of the giants of the 90’s and 00’s
This week it’s the turn of Foo Fighters, and their second album
1997 marked the release of the second Foo Fighters album, ‘The Colour and The Shape’, however, it was their first as a full band. Their self titled debut album was the work of frontman Dave Grohl, who did everything himself, but then realised, that to tour the album, he needs a band. The band that Grohl selected then stuck together, made Foo Fighters a 3 piece, with Grohl doing Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, and drums. Additional members, Pat Smear, and Nate Mendel and William Goldsmith took the roles of Lead Guitar, Bass and Drums respectively. However, Taylor Hawkins (now a permanent member) played drums on two songs for the album, ‘Requiem’ and ‘Drive Me Wild’.
The second album took two months to record, and was recorded at Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood during January and February 1997. Although, the recording process was so short as the band had already rehearsed and arranged the tracks in 1996. It was in this period of pre-production where producer Gil Norton had the biggest impact, where he and Grohl spent a week or so stripping songs to their basics. Originally, the album was recorded in Bear Creek Studios, Washington, however, the band decided to relocate to Grandmaster in 1997. The move to Grandmaster resulted in Grohl and Norton realising the drums needed re-recording on all but two songs. This left then drummer William Goldsmith upset, and he subsequently decided to leave the band, depsite Grohl wanting to keep him in.
The main focus of the albums lyrics was around Grohl’s divorce in December 1996. The lyrics are based around the idea of battered romanticism, and the order of the tracks was thought out thoroughly. The album starts out in chaotic, and finishing with a sense of happiness. Lyrics with meaning were something the debut album was missing, and the focus on meaningful lyrics in this second album definitely contributed to the success, and the long lasting love, of this album. Some believe that this album isn’t just about the lost love between Grohl and Jennifer Youngblood, but the song ‘My Hero’, is believed to be about Grohl’s feelings on the loss of former bandmate, and close friend, Kurt Cobain.
This album features some of the bands best loved songs, despite their long career. Songs off this album are what fans always go back to, despite having 8 other albums to pick from, as well as EPs. With songs such as, ‘Monkey Wrench’, ‘My Hero’ and ‘Everlong’. The full track listing is as follows;
- Monkey Wrench
- Hey, Johnny Park
- My Poor Brain
- Wind Up
- Up In Arms
- My Hero
- See You
- Enough Space
- February Stars
- Walking After You
- New Way Home
All Songs were written by Grohl, Mendel and Smear, aside from tracks 9, 11 and 12, which were written by Grohl alone. (There were also bonus tracks in some editions of the album, all of which were covers)
Not only did this album result in William Goldsmith leaving during the recording process, but guitarist Pat Smear left the band after the release, due to not wanting to go on another tour. Smear stayed in the band until a replacement was found, and the replacement came in the form of Grohl’s former ‘Scream’ band mate, Franz Stahl. Also, because Goldsmith had left, the band needed a drummer to play their live shows, which came in the form of Taylor Hawkins, who had already sessioned on the album, but now became a full time band member. As some fans will know, Smear returned to the band for their 6th Album ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace’. By the time Smear rejoined though, Grohl had got rid of Stahl, and had hired Chris Shifflet in 1999. This caused some tension at first, but they worked it out and the band became a five piece.
This album is their best selling US album, selling over 2 million copies, but only managed to peak at 10th in the US charts. The album did slightly better in the UK charts, managing to peak at 3rd. Despite a better chart position in the UK, the album has only sold 300,000 copies in the UK. For fans though, it’s not sales that matter, it’s songs that last, and this album is full of them.