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Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters have made a career of delivering some of the most solid if uninspiring American pop-rock in the past decade, but In Your Honor is such a snoozer that it makes all other Foo albums sound experimental. First in the set is an "all-rock" side that Grohl could've written in his sleep. Single "Best of You"'s pseudo-deep phrases like "I was too weak to give in, too strong to lose" don't actually mean a goddamned thing, and Grohl's melodic screams and generic power chords can't mask banality. The rest of the disc's watered-down post-grunge seems destined for a Best Buy bundle with the unrated Van Wilder DVD.

Disc two has a much softer audience in mind: "What If I Do"'s smooth-jazz drumbeat and coffeehouse guitar are practically stolen from Norah Jones, which makes her vocal appearance later in the album that much less of a surprise. The rest settles for the same acoustic, adult-contemporary formula, aside from two standouts. "Friend of a Friend" is a slow, thick brew that borrows from Nirvana's "Something in the Way," and for good reason: The lyrics sound like a regretful reminiscence of Kurt Cobain's demise ("When he tells his two best friends/'I think I drink too much'/No one speaks"). "Razor" closes the album with a simple and tense acoustic guitar line against a masochistic story, and if it weren't for the electric/acoustic separation of these CDs, the song could've really rocked. Fans may be surprised by the softer disc, but the biggest surprise is how that disc is the winner of this set, even if only by default.


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