Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rarities #25: Foo Fighters There Is Nothing Left To Lose (1999)

I've been searching for this version of the album for a very long time, and I was finally rewarded during my Melbourne trip earlier this year. Not surprising, considering this is the Australian version of the album, sold only in Australia.

There Is Nothing Left To Lose is Foo Fighters' third studio album, and the first album with their soon-to-be-permanent lineup of Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel and newcomers Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shiflett.

I often compare the Foos' first 3 albums with Nirvana's first 3 albums. Like Bleach, Foo Fighters is a low-budget, self-financed, primitive garage recording. By the time they hit it big, their second albums became much more polished and were critically-acclaimed (Nevermind and The Colour And The Shape).

They became disgusted with the highly-polished sound and opted for a more raw, return-to-the-roots approach for their third album (In Utero and There Is Nothing Left To Lose). So I've always felt there were many parallels between the careers of Nirvana and Foo Fighters.

I remember Life! gave this album 5 stars in their review, which interested me a lot, since I wasn't big on FF at that time even though I was madly into Nirvana. So I approached this album cautiously.

Not surprisingly, I immediately drew comparisons between Grohl's and Hawkin's drumming, and pronounced Grohl the better drummer. Grohl would even to this day admit that Hawkins is the better drummer.

However, I beg to differ. I think Grohl is a damn good drummer. Nirvana's songs were simple and he didn't overplay the drums. His playing was subservient to the songs, and he never had to resort to fancy tricks or beats to make himself stand out.

But when it came to other bands' material, he didn't need to be restrained and could go all out. Just listen to his drumming on Queens Of The Stone Age's Songs For The Deaf. It's a masterclass in drumming. Hawkins is a good drummer, not I would still consider Grohl more versatile and controlled.

But anyway, I digress. The first single off this album is Learn To Fly. It's almost a pop song, and it is perhaps most memorable for its music video, where Grohl cross dresses and acts funny and all. It's quite hilarious really. It won the Best Short Form Music Video in the Grammy Awards, and the album also picked up Best Rock Album.

Second single was Breakout, and I remember it being featured in the soundtrack of Jim Carrey's Me, Myself & Irene. A fan favourite at concerts, I feel it is only a mediocre song. Next Year was another single that I felt wasn't that great.

Generator and Stacked Actors were released in Australia only, with the former getting a limited edition 20,000 print in Europe as well. Seems like the Foos got a lot of love in Australia for this album.

Stacked Actors is a great song and a great opener to the album. It's raw and aggressive and tender at the same time. I particularly like the bossnova rhythm for the verses. However, my favourite songs off this record are the "ballads".

Aurora is a great, great song with a great arrangement. The ending of the song is superb, with the instrumental part bringing the song to a great climax.

Ain't It The Life is another melodious and sweet song that should have been released as a single. I was glad that they revisited the song in their acoustic tour, and it appeared on their Skin And Bones release. It never gets performed in their usual concerts as it will be out of place.

This version also contains an Australia bonus track, Fraternity. And to add to my comment that Australia got a lot of love from the Foos, this version comes with a bonus VCD of 4 music videos as well, including the aforementioned Learn To Fly, Generator, Breakout and Next Year.

The artwork for this version is special as well as it features Australian swimmer Michael Klim, because he is a big Foos fan and has an FF tattoo across his right upperarm. Supercool.



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