"Twenty songs on two CDs" boasts the little round sticker on the cover of the Foo's fifth offering. "One loud. One not so loud". And they deliver exactly what they promise, nothing less but, unfortunately, nothing more either.
In Your Honor is essentially two completely separate albums: Disc One is a 40 minute, ten song hard rock album, complete with loud, crunching guitars, power drumming and screaming angst-ridden vocals.
Disc Two is a 43 minute 10 song soft rock acoustic set, complete with controlled singing, pianos, and would you believe it, Norah Jones guesting on one of the tracks ("Virginia Moon"). The legendary grunge pioneer teaming up with a glorified cocktail lounge singer? The pairing seems unlikely, but the song would actually have worked had it been included on Jones's next bestseller (coming soon to a dinner party near you), rather than here.
Perhaps this is the direction Grohl wants to go. Even at its loudest and most aggressive, "In Your Honor" is far too polished for its own good. Each and every song is slick, thoughtfully arranged, carefully performed and has obviously had the Hell produced out of it. But that's the problem. Rock music needs its edginess, if it is to rise above the formulaic and mundane. With too much deliberation and thoughtfulness, the Foos have smoothed away any edge they might have once had.
The result is a listenable 80 minutes of hard and mellow rockers, none of them bad enough to truly dislike, but all of them as dull as dishwater. It's a pity. In the past the Foos have proven themselves more than capable of producing great rock music. Perhaps they will again, if only they could learn to stop taking themselves so seriously.
- Chris McEvoyWHAT OTHER CRITICS SAID:
"In Your Honor, like most Foo Fighters records, is sterile and controlled; there is never any threat of dissolution. While Grohl's musicianship and charisma are certainly a credit to any project he participates in, he still lacks the volatility typically inherent to life-shaking art."- Amanda Petrusich for Pitchfork Media
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