I did not hear this album until it was five years old and I was 27. I had been into for about seven months, had listened to There is Nothing Left to Lose—the first Foo I bought—a million times, had a fully-developed Dave Grohl fixation, and was determined to hear everything he ever recorded. I hesitated for a while to buy the first two Foo albums since I didn’t really know any of their other songs and wasn’t sure I would like them. But I finally couldn’t stand not knowing what Foo had preceded There is Nothing Left to Lose. From the second I heard the first notes of “This is a Call” I knew I would love everything Dave did! That is my favorite song on the album—it is so cool, so unexpected. There is Nothing Left to Lose was really all I knew of them, and it’s so radically opposite the debut. I love that wide spectrum of musical ability and interest, number one, their ability to be eclectic not only from album to album, but from song to song on each album.
“I’ll Stick Around” sounds very Nirvana. Dave got a lot of backlash when he formed Foo Fighters, and many people were angry that he went on as a musician and assumed that everything he wrote was about Kurt or inspired by Nirvana. When I first heard this song I was still very much anti-Nirvana, but I still loved it. It is really too kick-ass that my man played all the instruments and did all the singing and wrote all the songs on this record—I didn’t know all that when I first listened to it, and it amazes me more and more every time I hear it.
“Big Me” was the only song I recognized. I remember the Mentos parody they did for the video because it was on all the time, but I probably only watched it once because I really hated those fucking commercials. It’s a cool song because of its silliness, its complete surrender to cheese. “Big Me,” “Floaty,” and “For All the Cows” are the more mellow songs in this collection, and everything else is pretty hard. This was my mood when I first heard these songs: vulnerable, ponderous, but dangerous and ready to scream. All my perfect albums speak to me at the perfect time, they all say what I want to hear and what I wish I could say. There is a reason I never listened to Foo Fighters earlier than I did. They helped me get out of my writer’s block which, five years before, I was not experiencing. Five years before, I was a writer. Dave Grohl became my muse, my god, my inspiration. I love him and his work and everything he is associated with. This album is the work of a genius.
Even though it was There is Nothing Left to Lose—specifically, the video for “Learn to Fly”—that sparked my interest in the Foos, it did not drag me out of my misery and stagnation. The idea that Dave did all the work on this album by himself, that Nirvana ended just a year before, got me thinking about how little he was really able to contribute as the drummer. He is an enormously talented person, and he can do absolutely anything. This record showed me that I could be as prolific as I used to be. I’ll never be Dave Grohl, but I will do what I can to create as much as I can in this life.