The Foo Fighters have undergone a few personnel changes since the release of their last album, “The Colour And The Shape” in 1997. Guitarist Pat Smear (Pat Smear. Get it? I don’t think it’s funny either.) left Dave Grohl’s band on the night of the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. He was replaced by Franz Stahl, who quit the band in last July. Apparently less is more (the fewer, the merrier just didn’t sound right), because the new three-man lineup has come up with There Is Nothing Left To Lose, the band’s best album since their self titled debut, on which Grohl played all of the instruments.

There Is Nothing Left To Lose represents a change in direction for the Foo Fighters, but you wouldn’t know it after listening to the first two tracks. The first song (and second single), the extremely anti-showbiz “Stacked Actors” is as hard driving as anything they’ve ever recorded. December co-Song Of The Month “Breakout” starts off slow, but after about thirty seconds it’s more of the same grunge rock and that you’ve heard on the two previous records.

The aforementioned change in direction begins with the third track, the hit single “Learn To Fly”. From that point on, “TNLTL” goes into melodic pop-rock mode and you never hear the hard stuff again . While the other tracks aren’t as radio-friendly as “Fly”, they’re certainly enjoyable in their own right. On “Generator”, Grohl breaks out the old talk box (insert Peter Frampton/Roger Troutman reference here) to enhance the songs already catchy guitar hook. “Gimme Stitches” is another quality track, although the opening guitar riff sounds a hell of a lot like the 70’s rock ‘classic’ “Slow Ride”. See for yourself. I almost expected a Buick or a bottle of MGD to come through the speakers the first time I heard it.

While I consider There Is Nothing Left To Lose to be the Foo Fighters best work, some fans may not like the album’s milder overall tone. Don’t get me wrong. When I say mild, I mean mild for them. You won’t confuse this album with anything from softies like Matchbox 20 or Third Eye Blind. The Foo Fighters rock. I can’t believe I didn’t end that sentence with an exclamation point. Except this time around, they rock without screaming (as much) and the result is one of the best albums of the year.


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