Sound — 9
The Foo Fighters latest acoustic release Skin and Bones once again solidifies the band's ability to transition easily over to the acoustic world. While the softer side has been explored before on In Your Honor and many of that album's songs are performed again on Skin And Bones, listeners are also given the chance to hear some of the distortion-driven songs given a completely different life. Vocalist/guitarist Dave Grohl, drummer Taylor Hawkins, bassist Nate Mendel, and guitarist Chris Shiflett are some of the few musicians who actually appear as comfortable in an unplugged setting as with a roomful of amps. The first track Razor is almost like a mirror rendition of its original on In Your Honor, which gives the CD a familiar feel. While at first you might feel short-changed, thinking you're just getting the exact same material you got a year ago, hang in there. Even when their previous acoustic releases are played, the band manages to bring a little something different to each number. An example would be Walking After You, which actually seems more upbeat and percussion-oriented than the original. Probably the most impressive work, however, comes when the Foo Fighters decide to take songs like My Hero and Best Of You to the acoustic side. While plenty of other bands' acoustic numbers only seem like muted versions of the originals, the Foo Fighters' songs almost seem like they are completely new tracks. If you're going to do an acoustic version of anything, you might as well take the song in a different direction. In My Hero, the lyrical content almost seems to fit better without the distortion. The version from The Colour And The Shape was undeniably powerful, but acoustically -- and backed up by a beautiful piano as it build up to the climax -- it seems to convey Grohl's emotions tenfold. Drummer Taylor Hawkins gets to showcase his vocal talents live as well, performing Cold Day In The Sun. This is one of the few tracks on the CD that actually doesn't shy away from uses electric guitars, but it still has a mellow Eagles-esque feel to it that doesn't throw the whole record off. This tiny break from slower-tempo songs actually does keep the momentum on Skin and Bones going. The fans who primarily enjoy the Foo Fighters' harder songs may get bored while listening to the latest CD, but the band still is able to relay just as much intensity with their acoustics.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics will be familiar to anyone who has purchased previous Foo Fighters' albums, and Grohl's delivery is captivating as usual. The words are beautifully concise, without being overdone. While some may feel them to be overly simple, the meaning usually comes across as moving regardless. Probably the most powerful lyrics come in My Hero, which will continue to fuel the debate of whether it is about Kurt Cobain or not. Regardless of Grohl's inspiration, the lyrics are ones that connect with plenty of people. He sings, Too alarming now to talk about; Take your pictures down and shake it out; Truth or consequence say it aloud; Use that evidence race it around; There goes my hero. Everlong is another classic with lyrics that say a lot in a few lines. Grohl sings, And I wonder when I sing along with you; If everything could ever feel this real forever; If anything could ever be this good again. He hits on emotions that are relatable to anyone who has ever been in love but was scared of it ending, which is likely a pretty universal feeling.
Overall Impression — 9
While some might complain that the Foo Fighters are just rehashing what was already done on disk 2 of In Your Honor, it is still amazing how the band is able to keep the songs fresh. Some songs like Razor do feel extremely close to the original, but most of the other tracks take on a new life. And if you're just curious how the band performs songs like My Hero or Big Me as acoustics, you'll likely be glad you took the time to find out. Just because the Foo Fighters decided to tone down their sound on Skin And Bones doesn't necessarily mean that there is less there than before. With the addition of a violin, organ, and mellotron, the concert has a rich sound that accentuates the band's playing. If anything, the CD proves that even when you do leave the band with just a few acoustics and vocals, there are solid songs underneath it all.