It's been a great November for Dave Grohl fans, with this release of their Greatest Hits CD, and Them Crooked Vultures. Since buying this CD, I've read that Grohl is not happy with it and didn't have much creative control. While that may be true, the DVD alone is worth whatever you pay for this deluxe edition. Read on!
When I first got my first DVD player ten years ago, I said to my music buddies, "What Foo Fighters need to do is release a DVD of all their music videos." Back then, when music channels actually played music, the Foos videos were some of the coolest, rockiest, and funniest videos around. "Big Me", "Everlong", "Monkeywrench", all are classic videos. Now, The Foos have released all those great videos, but not as a stand-alone package. You can get 'em for free in this deluxe set. That makes up for any qualms Foo fans may have with the track selection on this CD. You can't beat the DVD, although some videos are missing ("Breakout"). There are also some great live clips from various shows and a whole slew of videos I have never seen before. (Maybe if music channels would get back to playing music...ahh, but that is another story.)
I actually don't have too many beefs with the track listing here. Granted, Foo singles and Foo album tracks are often two different beasts and equally good. As Dave points out in the liner notes (great liner notes by the way) maybe "Aurora" should have been included in a tracklist of the "best" Foo songs. More songs from the first album should have been here. I'm sure you could pick out a dozen more. All the tracks here are singles or new songs. By and large though, no big deal, as long as you dig deeper into the Foo catalogue after hearing this CD.
What about those two new songs?
"Wheels" has a neat opening riff that sounds like country music with feedback! I like this song alot. Honestly, I think this is a country song in disguise. Imagine Dwight Yoakam doing it. See what I mean? As far as Foo songs go, maybe this would fit right in with There Is Nothing Left To Lose material. Great chorus, there's even a little twang in the chorus. It has an epic quality. Cool crashing chords in the chorus, too.
"Word Forward" starts acoustic, punctuated with some electric guitar. Not quite as strong as "Wheels", the melody is a bit more awkward. This sounds more like B-side material to me. It's a shame because I quite like the clean-picked opening guitar, the dynamics, and a lot of the chords, it's just the melodies of the song that don't work for me.
The flow of the songs isn't perfect. A song like the electric version of "Everlong", to me, is a song that goes on the later half of a CD (aka "side 2" to us old folks). To me it's a song that builds up to a closing climax of an album. If I had chosen this exact same track list, I would have had the songs in a different order so they flow better in terms of mood. Also, I think a few too many fast Foo tracks are presented in a row without enough of their wonderful slower songs to break things up. Look at the first four tracks in a row: "All My Life", "Best Of You", "Everlong" and "The Pretender" are four fast heavy ones in a row, followed by "My Hero" which is still pretty heavy. It's like putting your foot on the gas pedal and not taking it off even when your passenger is giving you funny looks!
The album ends with an acoustic version of "Everlong" (not from the Skin and Bones CD). While this spare, Grohl-only version of the most epic of epic Foo songs is great, as a closer it's not my choice, at least not for an album like this. It kind of leaves you hanging....
And hanging is where the Foos are leaving us, for now, as they go on a much deserved break. Dave will tour with Them Crooked Vultures and hopefully come up with some more excellent side projects while the band refreshes itself. Personally I was underwhelmed by the last Foo platter (the critically acclaimed Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, which didn't quite hit the spot for me) so I hope upon their return, the rejuvenated Foos hit one right out of the park.
Five stars, because with a DVD like this included, all other points are moot!