One By One, Foo Fighters

One By One album

October 22, 2002: I will always remember exactly what happened on that day.  I had been a Foo Fighters superfan for three years by then, and I was ridiculously excited to buy their new album, One By One.  In September the first single, “All My Life,” was released; this was in the days before new music was leaked online, so you actually had to wait to hear it on the radio.  I was working at an adult store when I first heard “All My Life,” and I knew from the first guitar chord that it was the new Foo!  I loved it right away. 

 

The day the album was released was quite an event for me.  I woke up early so I could prepare myself to go to my local independent record shop and be the first one to purchase it.  I shaved my legs (this is always the sign of a special occasion, since I’m Eastern European and it’s quite a procedure to shave my legs!), did my hair and makeup, put on something beautiful, and drove down to the record store.  I was nervous and excited about the new record.  I had played There is Nothing Left to Lose probably a thousand times over the previous three years, and had also memorized every bit of The Colour and the Shape and Foo Fighters.  I knew this would be a great album, but even with a band you worship you wonder how they will top themselves. 

 

I was not disappointed, especially since the ball-breaking “All My Life” opened the album.  I did not have a CD player in my car at the time so I had to wait until I got home to listen to it.  And I played it as many times as I could until I went to work that afternoon.  And then I played it all day and night at work, probably ten times.  I was so grateful that we were allowed to play our own music at the store.  I could not have imagined spending such a historic day not listening to Foo!

 

I had been working at the adult store (not the typical dirty book store; instead we were more upscale and sold nice lingerie, body oils, lube, sex toys, stripper clothes, and porn) for about a month, and my life was very much in limbo.  Earlier in the year I had been fired from my job as a coffee shop manager, and I spent some time on unemployment.  I worked part-time as a bartender for a while, but it was very little money.  Still, I enjoyed bartending since I worked at a redneck bar where I could be myself completely—swearing, arguing with people, drinking.  It was great!  But I was only temporary help, and when the summer ended so did my job.  I was heavily in debt and needed to find something quickly.  The last night I worked at the bar I drove around the city to see if anyone had Help Wanted signs in their windows, and the adult store did.  I applied the next day and was hired.

 

At that point I had been out of school for about five years, and I don’t think I really considered going back.  I only had five classes to complete so I could graduate, but I was a party girl in 2002 and wanted to keep that going.  So I worked for almost nothing for as many hours as they would give me, and I avoided bill collectors like the plague.  One By One was my soundtrack for the early days of my year-long career at the adult store.  I know that the Foos are not particularly fond of this album except for a few songs (they always play “All My Life” and “Times Like These” in concert), but I have to say that it is really important to me.  Just as the band was going through a lot of drama during its recording and promotion, I was living with a lot of chaos.  Foo got me through.

 

As I listen to this album again I am starting to feel a deeper connection to the me of 11 years ago.  I have completely changed my path in life, my behavior, my ideas about what’s important, and it’s difficult to look back at what a mess I was then.  Not that everything was shit, but a lot of it was.  And not everything is shit right now, but a lot of it is.  The lack of money has been a constant theme throughout my adult life, though I was still spending what little money I had when I first heard One By One.  All these years later, I have completed my BA and MA.  I have stopped drinking and whoring around.  Though I was always religious I now recognize the role God plays in my daily life.  I have moved out of my parents’ house and am careful with my money.  I have changed so much.  But I am still struggling to have a career as a writer.  I am struggling more than ever to pay my bills.  I am so accomplished education-wise, but I cannot find career success doing anything with my degree.  My ideas about success are absolutely different now, but even by this new definition I am dissatisfied.  Not unhappy—frustrated.  I have a lot of great things going on.  But I don’t have enough of them.

 

This is the one Foo album that reminds me of something less than pleasant, but it’s not overwhelming.  “Disenchanted Lullaby” is one of my favorites on this collection.  It has that quiet-loud-quiet dynamic that the early Foo records have.  It’s kind of angry and really passionate and I just fucking love it!      

 

I may be scattered

A little shattered

What does it matter?

No one has a fit like I do

I’m the only one that fits you

“All My Life” and “Times Like These” in particular inspire me the way Foo music always does.  “All My Life” is just so badass!  “On and on/I got nothing to hide!”  That’s exactly how I lived every day back then—well, I hid things from my family, of course, things I was sure they’d rather not know.  But when I was out and about I was an open book.  Nothing was too intimate to share with the world.  And while I still admire people who are so liberated, and though I do miss certain aspects of those days, I do treasure my privacy now and recognize it as a strength.  I was looking for something when I was younger, some sort of acceptance that I thought I could achieve through these outrageous and often self-destructive behaviors.  I don’t know.  But this song speaks to me because of that shit.   

 

All my life I’ve been searching for something
Something never comes never leads to nothing
Nothing satisfies but I’m getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope
All night long I dream of the day
When it comes around then it’s taken away
Leaves me with the feeling that I feel the most
The feeling comes to life when I see your ghost

 

And I have to give a shout-out to Dave’s orgasm-inducing screaming at the end of this song!

 

And I’m done, done and I’m on to the next one!

 

“Times Like These” is a straight-up anthem.  Anyone who goes through hard times—and, um, that’s everyone!—can benefit from this song. 

 

It’s times like these you learn to live again

It’s times like these you give and give again

It’s times like these you learn to love again

It’s times like these time and time again

 

Things are going to go wrong and fuck your shit up.  That’s part of life.  You’re going to be pissed and sad and frustrated.  But it’s always an opportunity to grow.  Cheesy, perhaps, but it really does work that way.


I am a new day rising

I’m a brand new sky

To hang the stars upon tonight

I’m a little divided

 Do I stay or run away

And leave it all behind?

 

I love the above lyrics so much, especially the “I’m a little divided” line, because I have always felt somewhat conflicted about who I am, like, am I the Madonna or a whore?  But as Madonna Ciccone has taught us, you can be both rolled into one provocative package!  This is one of the great philosophical complications of my life.  For many years I was pure and innocent in deed, though never in word or thought.  Then I was a full-on hussy for a long time.  Now I am back to being a nun.  Sometimes I want to be scandalous again, but other times I find the idea of that simply boring.  But there’s always going to be a hot little slut inside me who’s just aching to get out and do her thang!

 

Back to Foo.  I love this album, even if the boys don’t.  It provided me with a lot of comfort during a very confusing time.  Nothing was going as I thought it should, but Foo was there for me.  They rocked my tits off with this record.  And with every record since they have given me a good stiff one when I needed it most.  Foo Fighters Record Release Day has been a special observance for me since 2002, and I cannot wait until they make me shave my legs again.

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7 thoughts on “One By One, Foo Fighters

  1. Wow that’s a great story. I am myself a Foo fan, but, you’ve been a fan for longer than I have been able to speak. One By One is my second favourite Foo album behind Wasting Light and I really don’t think it’s bad. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who likes One By One. Cheers!

    Like

  2. Great post and story! Love the connection between one song and its meaning. I remember distinctly hearing this the first time too – I’d seen them live just a year earlier and was curious where they’d head after Nothing Left…. I actually heard it first via the video on MTV2 (because MTV had long since ceased playing anything resembling music). That build up, that slow chug of a muted riff… still love it. A real blast of excitement that still kicks in every single time.Then they did it again after something of a lay off (for me at least) five years later with the same excited response to the debut of The Pretender, when that one kicks in….

    Liked by 1 person

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