Foo Fighters - There Is Nothing Left To Lose (2LP)
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Foo Fighters were the most unexpectedly mercurial band in '90s rock, boasting a different lineup for each of their three albums. The ever-shifting membership didn't help erase the image that the group was merely a vehicle for Dave Grohl, and made it seem like Grohl was something of a dictator, at least to some biased outside observers. That's why their third record, There Is Nothing Left to Lose, comes as somewhat of a surprise. It is the first Foo Fighters album that sounds like the work of a unified, muscular band, and the first one that rocks really hard. A lot of credit should go to Adam Kasper, who produced the record with the band. There Is Nothing Left to Lose has a stripped-down sound and an immediate attack that makes even the poppier numbers rock hard. The organic, natural sound is welcome, but the album also benefits from the strongest set of songs Grohl and Foo Fighters have yet written. There are the typical strong singles, but there's no fat or filler; each track has a memorable hook or melody, and they seem all the more catchy because they're delivered with conviction and confidence. And that's why the album sounds like the first true band album Foo Fighters have made -- the group sounds assured and confident, where they previously seemed like they had something to prove. It's as if they know they have few peers in straight-ahead post-grunge hard rock, so they're willing just to lie back and turn out a solid set of 11 songs. They make it sound easy and fun, and that's what really sets them apart from their contemporaries. That and the fact that they're getting better as they're losing members and growing older, which is certainly a rarity in rock & roll.