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Foo Fighters

In Your Honor (RCA)

Dave Grohl will never be hip. In an age of irony, his lyrics are too earnest, his guttural howl lending overwrought passion to hard-rocking Hallmark cards like "My Hero." Meanwhile, he wears his prog-rock and speed-metal influences on his sleeve; they shine through on every bludgeoning riff and indulgent solo. And though In Your Honor might be his band's most extravagant project to date -- a two-disc collection featuring separate electric and acoustic sets -- it's also its most sophisticated. For those about to rock, Grohl channels Rush and Motörhead on the frenzied title track, while "Free Me" recalls the muscular, blistering metal of the Foo's 1997 The Colour and the Shape. Elsewhere, Norah Jones lends her seductive croon to the jazzy "Virginia Moon," perhaps the most engaging and unexpectedly subdued track of the second set. Give Grohl this much: He's ambitious, and he's not afraid to fall on his face, as he does on the album's first single, the generic "Best of You." But he's also capable of penning some of the catchiest pop-metal around, and there are enough gems on In Your Honor to justify its excesses.

 
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