1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 349

The Colour and the Shape, by Foo Fighters
Suggested by Craig Scott

What is “cool”…?

I’m not talking temperature, if you haven’t guessed. I have felt an icy chill before, and I will again. No, I’m talking about being cool. About coolness, that ephemeral, aspirational state of being that lends its recipients a sense of allure. Being cool makes you interesting. It makes you attractive, and somehow important.

I acknowledge that coolness is likely entirely subjective. One man’s fish is another man’s poisson, after all. Even so, there are touchstones of coolness universal coolness truths, the intersections where our personal Ven Diagrams of Coolness overlap. There are therefore some things, some people, that have earned enough Cool Miles to have breached a statistical high-water mark, so much so that one can point at them and objectively say “now they are cool.”

I offer that one such individual is Dave Grohl.

Now. You may think that being the drummer for one of my most hated groups, the wretched Nirvana, would be enough to disqualify him from such a soubriquet. Not so. In fact, his very history in the orbit of the black-hole-in-a-cardigan Kurt Cobain serves to ground him, and only provides a showcase of his coolness for the heights he has since attained.

Dave Grohl’s coolness is manifold. His band, the Foo Fighters, produce effortlessly cool songs, and videos, and he’s the very beating heart of the troupe. When he was incapacitated through injury during a tour, he did not pull and Axl and flounce off home: he carried on playing on stage from his own musical Dalek chair, like a Rock and Roll Davros. That’s cool. There’s the fantastic Rockin’ 1000 Learn to Fly collaboration that drew him to perform in Italy, his Beaconsfield Miners connection, his Tenacious D cameo as the Devil in Tribute, his collaborations with Lemmy, with Paul McCartney and more. On the more genteel side of the coin, it seems he’s a great father to three daughters. And if we’re being frank and forthright, he’s also easy on the eye, although he’s becoming ever more Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen as the years roll by. Oh, and he’s an excellent drummer too.

I’ve always thought I’d like Foo Fighters, should I take to time to listen to more than their singles, and I’m happy to report that The Colour and the Shape serves to bolster this idea. I love the singles, of course, with Everlong, My Hero and my favourite Monkey Wrench being all that I ask and more. Other, non-single highlights include the delicate build into dreamy chorus of Hey, Johnny Park!, the transformative Up in Arms, the screaming and whirling The Colour and the Shape, and the psychedelic ballad Walking After You. I enjoyed each and every song presented, even those in which I could sense Cobain’s tendrillic influence snaking and squeezing.

Lest my man-crush on Grohl creep you out, I guess it’s safe to say he’s not a complete peach. Apparently, he was quite the lothario in his misspent youth, and his exacting demands of the poor drummer on this album, which resulted in Grohl overdubbing all but two of the songs himself, caused the chap to quit the band immediately after. But even this can’t sway me from awarding The Colour and the Shape an excellent 8/10. It’s a cool album, for sure.

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