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There is Nothing Left to Lose

music reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: There is Nothing Left to Lose

Artist: Foo Fighters
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: November 1999

Review by LarryG
2 stars out of 4

In his few years as Nirvana's drummer, Dave Grohl learned from the master, Kurt Cobain, about mixing rock noise and melody. His first record with his band Foo Fighters showed his ability to blend pop and rock. While the tunes weren't quite up to Nirvana's level, Grohl had an anger that gave the songs a good Nirvana type edge and he also established a distinctive personality. On the band's subsequent CDs, The Color and The Shape and the new There is Nothing Left to Lose, Grohl has got even better at mixing pop and rock and his songs have more form than on the debut, but the edge has been missing. Grohl has an easy facility for making music. He can write songs with great twists and interesting allusions to 60's pop but the other side of his facility is that his music can seem too easy or facile.

There is Nothing Left to Lose is an uneven work but it does have one great song and quite a few good ones. The single, Learn to Fly, is irresistable. It hooks you in so many ways. Grohl's electric guitar riff propels Learn to Fly from the start. The echoing sound with Taylor Hawkins' great, crisp drums brings to mind a PhiI Spector production. The chorus, about all the new things Grohl is looking for, soars with Grohl's exuberant vocals. The lyrics get a little confused later in the song when Grohl asks his love to give him "one last try" and fly with him but Grohl's enthusiasm and energy keeps the song buoyant. Sadly, none of the other songs on There is Nothing Left to Lose are as well developed and exhilarating as Learn To Fly but there are a few other enjoyable rockers. Generator has a cheesy Peter Frampton type vocoder guitar effect but it is a fun, driving song. Breakout is a mindless rant by Grohl about his therapist but it's a good intense rock song like Color and the Shape's Monkey Wrench. Nichols' beat keeps the song moving. Headwires has a riff like Gary Numan's Cars or a Rush song. It sounds a little like an uneasy mix between Everlong and Walking After You but it has a good trippy, restrained feel on the verses and then rocks out nicely on the choruses.

There is Nothing Left Left to Lose also has quite a few stinkers. Maybe it's a reflection of his depressed state but There is Nothing Left to Lose is low on Grohl's specialty: catchy, hard rocking songs. Stacked Actors has pretentious, spoken verses and stupid yelled hard rock choruses. Gimme Stitches is an uninteresting classic rocker. Live In Skin is pointless, ponderous rock with Grohl singing what sounds like "I'm a mountain." M.I.A. starts interestingly then bogs down in repetition. The lyrics, like on much of the record, are self pitying and not particularly interesting.

After Grohl had a hit with the nice, subtle Big Me from the band's first record, there have been more slow songs on the subsequent Foo Fighters records. With his yearning vocals and mastery of layered Beatles or Beach Boys style pop, Grohl can make good personal pop. On There is Nothing Left to Lose, Aurora is too sprawling and never goes anywhere. But Next Year is well made pop with a good, clear sound. It has the theme of many of the songs that Grohl's just going through a bad time but soon he'll be back with his love and everything will be O.K. Next Year starts with an acoustic guitar then builds nicely, ending with Beatlesque strings. Ain't It the Life also has a good dreamy feel.

There is Nothing Left to Lose has quite a few good songs but too often Dave Grohl doesn't use his talent to make interesting, enjoyable music.



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