Foo Fighters - The Colour And The Shape
Record Label: Roswell/Capitol
Release Date: May 20, 1997
We’ve come a long way since Dave Grohl decided his best post-Nirvana move was recording a cassette. Popping a tape in a Walkman has since given way to innovative new ways of consuming music, many of which were unimaginable in the 90’s. Now nearing its 15th anniversary, Foo Fighters’ The Colour & The Shape has endured the trials of new mediums and remained as essential in 2012 as it was in 1997.
Howard Stern understood. After coaxing Dave Grohl into performing “Everlong” acoustically for the first time, the talkative radio legend was near speechless, eventually exclaiming how the song translated so smoothly. As the content-hungry and tech-savy demanded more rarities and b-sides, acoustic versions of all TC&TS tracks became widely-hunted, such as the stripped-down recording of “Hey, Jonny Park!” that remains one of my iPod’s most played. The warm reception of the Foos’ live acoustic album Skin & Bones only added to the evidence, reminding us how great ballads “Walking After You” and “February Stars” cannot be forgotten amongst the numerous hits.
The musically-challenged learned to appreciate the record through plastic instruments on Rock Band. This new generation of gamers/listeners were always told of Grohl’s drumming days, but only failed attempts at the signature drum intro of “My Hero” or the awkwardness of “Enough Space” really displayed his great technique. Driving home the lesson further, “Everlong” became one of Rock Band 2’s most difficult songs, where average players rarely could duplicate Dave’s stick speed.
Only the most diehard fans grabbed the 10th anniversary re-release, but Spotify and other streaming services allowed those with empty piggy banks to check out the six new b-sides. Succumbing to the b-side trend may be the only misstep in TC&TS’s legacy; these tracks aren’t anywhere near as good as original 13. Rather than letting these devalue the first release, we must view the songs as insight into Foo Fighters’ transition from a one-man writing team to an entire band. Think of them like Michael Jordan’s solo career: extra credit that was fun to watch, but will be long forgotten.
Of course, the album stands for itself musically still. Wasting Light, the Foos' 2011 record, received universal praise and End Of The Year awards, with critics quoting how the album compares to TC&TS. The bar that old album set is still being used as a barometer for modern rock, 15 years later. If that doesn’t show this album’s worth, nothing does.
I vividly remember being enthralled at Monkeywrench. I faked being sick two days in a row to watch the video on MTV (when it was still truly Music TeleVison). And I remember how bummed I was, after saving up my money, that the prongs that hold the disc were busted. Still have that exact case.
This album was my childhood, and it's a testament that it still holds up 1,000+ spins later.
Personally, I've always preferred There Is Nothing Left To Lose to this.
There is Nothing Left To Lose was a very close second, but I still think this is the best album by the Foo Fighters. I love every song and "My Hero" is probably one of my top 5 songs ever. "Up in Arms" is up there as well.
In addition, the music video to "Everlong" was one of the all time greats.
The color and the shape is how rock music is supposed to sound, and how this band is supposed to sound. The greatest part about TC&TS is that it is as a whole musically temperamental. This album is great because it demonstrates versatility while simultaneously kicking your ass.
After this album this band changed formats from making great albums, to using formulas to sell their albums, and sell out stadiums. What do we owe this change in production and "musical value" to? "Everlong". Every album since, this song dropped, Dave has written a different version of "Everlong" because of the popularity of this one song. This song used to be a cool emotional song and now is the most over played over referenced song ever.
By the way Echoes, silence, patience, and grace was supposed to be the newer comparison to TC&TS, as gil norton produced it. Unfortunately aside from few songs (which were also singles) it is the biggest pile of shit i have ever listened to. One by One was a masterpiece compared to that album.
Also "The colour and The shape" title track b-side is one of the most kickass songs with a highly original riff, only the musically naive would underestimate it.