Foo Fighters’ first double-disc album sticks to the straight-and-narrow. Yeah, I know, big shocker—singer-songwriter Dave Grohl has made a career out of delivering some of the most solid, if uninspiring, American pop-rock in the past decade, but In Your Honor is such a snoozer that it makes all other Foo albums sound experimental. First in the set is an “all-rock” side that Grohl could’ve written (and probably did) in his sleep. Single “Best of You”’s pseudo-deep phrases like “I’ve got another confession to make” and “I was too weak to give in, too strong to lose” don’t actually mean a goddamned thing, and Grohl’s melodic screams and generic power chords can’t mask the banality. The rest of the disc’s watered-down post-grunge seems destined for a Best Buy bundle with the unrated Van Wilder DVD.
Disc two has a much softer audience in mind: “What If I Do”’s smooth-jazz drumbeat and coffee-house guitar are practically stolen from Norah Jones, which makes her vocal appearance later in the album that much less of a surprise, and the rest of the album settles for this acoustic, adult-contemporary formula, aside from two standouts. “Friend of a Friend” is a slow, thick brew that borrows from Nirvana’s “Something in the Way,” and for good reason: The lyrics sound like a regretful reminiscence of Kurt Cobain’s demise (“When he tells his two best friends/‘I think I drink too much’/No one speaks”). “Razor” closes the album with a simple and tense acoustic guitar line against a masochistic story, and if it weren’t for the electric/acoustic separation of these CDs, the song could’ve really rocked. Fans may be surprised by the softer disc, but the biggest surprise is how that disc is the winner of this set, even if only by default.