Dave Grohl has many talents. He plays guitar, sings and writes songs for the Foo Fighters. He drums for the Queens of the Stone Age. And once upon a time, he was in a little group called Nirvana.
I said I wasn’t going to be one of those people who bitched about the track selection on Nirvana. I lied. Nirvana delivers exactly what it promises – a “greatest hits” collection with classics like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Lithium.” The big selling point is the new song, “You Know You’re Right,” which sounds like classic Nirvana with it’s soft verses, big chorus and Grohl’s spare-yet-aggressive drumming. For you die-hard fans, new mixes of “Been a Son” (with Chad Channing drumming instead of Grohl) and “Pennyroyal Tea” are definitely worth checking out. My one complaint is that they left out “Polly.” The fact that it’s a Nirvana original (and not a cover like “The Man Who Sold the World”) should give it priority. I could also make a case for including “Aneurysm,” but such is life (note to DGC: Hire me! Hire me!). If you like Nirvana, you should already have these songs, but if, for some ungodly reason, you don’t, this isn’t a bad place to start – as long as you’re willing to go further.
The unimpressive One by One, the Grohl-run Foo Fighters’ latest release, is not a good starting place. Not to say that it’s all bad – songs like “All My Life” and “Tired of You” are worth listening to – but the album leaves something to be desired. Grohl is a decent singer, but when he tries to scream, I can’t help but think that Kurt did it better. Grohl is one of the all-time great rock drummers, and he should stick with what he does best. One by One’s best songs have a unique sound that are distinctly Foo Fighters; the worst sound like Nirvana rip-offs. The influence is understandable – Nirvana has had a big impact on alternative rock since the early ’90s, but most bands fall short when compared to the original, even when featuring an original.
[Angela Potter is willing to verbally abuse the crap out of you over track selection. So step up.]