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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Foo Fighters
One by One
RCA Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Foo Fighters have been in a downward spiral since their self-titled debut. After their eponymous debut, 1997's The Colour and the Shape marked the advent of a newfound Foo Fighters' strategy to add significant amounts of polish to whatever they could, more than could be deemed helpful. Though not a real failure, there was no escaping the idea The Colour and the Shape was not so much a sophomore slump as sophomore I-got-a-taste-of-what-fame-and-radio-have-to-offer-and-I'm-going-to-do-what-I-can-to-make-sure-I-sell-records disaster. In the next two years, this over-glossing malignancy had not only lingered, but it had metastasized, and in 1999 There is Nothing Left to Lose was birthed to the music world. The emotion and personality found on the Foo Fighters' debut has dramatically decreased with each release and now, in 2002, the Foo Fighters have come along with One by One, an album which will confirm for good whether getting slicker and less original with each release is a trend or a direction for the band.

The verdict? Well, you've heard "All My Life," and if an album's first single is any indicator of what it will be like, you can assume Foo Fighters are more polished than ever.

All of the singles are packed into the first half of One by One. "All My Life" starts everything off, a good opener in the sense it kicks everything off with a bang and definitely a standout on One by One, but "Low" follows, seemingly an effort on the part of Foo Fighters to cover up for a terribly boring single lacking in melody (among other things) by upping the volume and adding distortion.

"Have It All" is much more melodic and probably the song on the album that suffers worse from so much gloss. Dave Grohl sounds more like a robot than a man with any connection to what he's singing, backed up by a band that just plays, completely unaware of what they're doing.

"Disenchanted Lullaby" caught my ears early on as the most interesting song on the album, hinting at a terrible awareness of what's going on with the Foo Fighters' music when Grohl sings, in a very disaffected manner, "Sing along my soul to take" before screaming, "I may be scattered/ a little shattered/ what does it matter/ no one has a fit like I do," a similar idea as is included in the liner notes, where beside drawings of lone hearts sits text like, "Who could set a price…?!...Let me try…" and "I do wrong to put my heart into what I write. That is no longer done." Is this their way of acknowledging that they weren't even trying to make a good record with One by One and that they're just following a tried-and-true formula? It's a possibility the Foo Fighters know all you have to do is add some polish to mediocre songs to make a more popular, more accessible record than something you'd try harder on. If that's the case, that's unfortunate, but that doesn't change the fact this is the worst Foo Fighter's release in years.

Reviewed by Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other reviews by Jeanette Samyn



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