In Your Honor
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2005, Volume 12, #7
Written by John Metzger
Without a doubt, there are good intentions lurking behind the release of Foo Fighters’ sprawling, new, two-disc effort In Your Honor. Most notable of these is that the band wants to be taken seriously in its artistic pursuits and viewed as more than just an angst-hurling, stadium-shaking sensation. Nevertheless, the first half of the album is business-as-usual for Dave Grohl’s post-Nirvana outfit. Offering the ensemble’s customary blend of heavy hitting guitar rock and sensibly streamlined pop, the initial 10 tracks collectively manage to rage forcefully, though the production is so crisp that much of the material’s raw edge is lost in the earth-shattering shuffle. Songs like Best of You and Resolve survive merely because they gain traction through their hearty melodies, but the remainder of this portion of the set suffers from the generic similarity of Foo Fighters’ approach.
As for the latter half of In Your Honor, Grohl ventures onto an intriguingly different path — one that explores his softer, acoustic-oriented side, and for the most part, his bold experimentation succeeds. Though his fondness for Beatle-esque textures previously poured through the pop-driven anthem Next Year, it more typically has felt confined and trapped within Foo Fighters’ post-grunge sound. Throughout the subdued architecture of In Your Honor’s final 10 songs, however, the influence of The Beatles has more room to maneuver, and with an array of special guests that include Norah Jones, Petra Haden, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, and The Wallflowers’ Rami Jaffee, the possibilities seem endless. Virginia Moon embraces a bossa nova groove; Cold Day in the Sun sounds like Summerteeth-era Wilco; enshrouded in ghostly darkness, the suicide tale Still hovers ominously; Miracle funnels The Beach Boys through Weezer; and Friend of a Friend hints at Nirvana, which isn’t terribly surprising considering that its genesis took place in 1992. Although such atmospheric arrangements sometimes feel awkward and aren’t likely to suit the entirety of Foo Fighters’ fan base, they do provide new life for a band that seemed to be searching for an escape route. While In Your Honor is neither the beginning nor the end of a journey, it is an open doorway through which lies an array of new frontiers.
In Your Honor is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box