If it's true that the best songwriters have to experience some amount of emotional pain to become great, then the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl may rank as one of the greatest songwriters living today. Pain has played an all too important role in his life in the last few years.
While it's been oft-rumored (and much denied) that the suicide of Grohl's former bandmate Kurt Cobain was source material for many of the songs on the Foo Fighters' eponymous debut, the band's sophomore effort, The Colour and the Shape, finds Grohl experiencing a different kind of loss: the dissolution of his marriage to photographer Jenny Youngblood.
The album is a therapist's notebook full of conflicting emotions. On "Monkey Wrench," Grohl is exhilarated at the prospect of being on his own: "Still there's one thing that comforts me, since I was always caged, and now I'm free." "Walking After You," however, shows a man unwilling to accept the end: "I cannot be without you...if you walk out on me, I'm walking after you."
The Colour and the Shape benefits from the addition of an almost full band. Along with playing guitar and singing, Grohl still mans the drum chores on the album, showing that it was no coincidence that Nirvana toiled in obscurity until he joined the band. Guitarist Pat Smear and bassist Nate Mendel give the songs a complexity that was lacking on the first album, recorded with Grohl on every instrument. Songs bounce from acoustic ballads to punk-rock barnburners, sometimes in the same song.
Smear's churning guitar is one of the real highlights on Colour. Sadly, Smear officially quit the group two weeks ago at the MTV Video Music Awards, replaced by Franz Stahl, Grohl's ex-bandmate in the D.C. hardcore band Scream. Just another thing Dave Grohl has to worry about.
Foo Fighters play the Bronco Bowl Wednesday, September 24.