|2005||In Your Honor||Foo Fighters||★★★½||67||Rock||Alternative Rock|
Double albums are almost always difficult to rate or justify, but Dave Grohl and Co. do a solid enough job to warrant one with In Your Honor, a two-disc, hour-and-a-half project that very clearly separates the band’s hard-rocking roots and gentler acoustic side.
Disc One includes pounding drums, upbeat guitar riffs, Dave’s iconic shouting vocals, and all of your expected rock-radio kind of hits. The opening six tracks are unassailable; “Best of You” and “DOA” may have been popular due to their radioplay, but, honestly, almost any of the tracks on Disc One could have been hits if the band had decided to go with them as lead singles. “In Your Honor,” “No Way Back,” “Last Song,” are all near the top of the band’s catalog.
Disc One does lose some of its steam near the end, but with an emphasis on song builds and in-your-face, almost anthemic choruses, one would hardly get bored or disappointed with “The Deepest Blues are Black” or “End Over End.” Overall, the first disc is probably a high 3.5 star album, maybe even a 4, boosted by the high-end tracks.
Whatever Disc One did, the second tries to be good doing the opposite. It show’s the band’s acoustic, more restrained side. There are string orchestrations and pianos instead of reverb, layered acoustic guitar work absent of almost any electric guitar pedals, and Tyler Hawkins usually frantic, heart-pounding drums are replaced by a muted set, simple hat hits and tambourines.
“Cold Day In The Sun,” sung by Hawkins, is the closest thing to a classic Foo Fighters hit in the group, but even as clearly the most upbeat and fun moment on the disc, it contrasts with most of the heavier guitars the band’s known for. “Virginia Moon” and “Over and Out” are side highlights, with the closing track “Razor” as possibly the best track of the entire project.
Most songs on Disc Two are fine, but there is a pretty clear set of really good songs and some others that are more forgettable. And while individual tracks could have stood out as tender moments on a different record, smushing all the like songs together kind of takes away that potential impact. With a few weaker moments, and most of the better tracks near the back end of the disc, I think it’s probably a low 3, or maybe 2.5 stars if you’re just craving something a little more upbeat.
So in summary, each disc definitely works as its own, individual chapter, with the two opposite vibes and clearly justifying them to be separated. You could also for sure make a 4 star, maybe even a 4.5 star album by picking and choosing your favorite 12 or 13 songs. A right-sized In Your Honor, with the Foo Fighters really clicking on all cylinders during this era in terms of hit making and ambition, could have been the band’s best record. But, listening to all 20 songs in one sitting, start to finish, probably isn’t the ideal experience.