The Colour and the Shape

The Colour and the Shape
The Colour and the Shape
Studio album by Foo Fighters
Released May 20, 1997
Recorded October - December 1996 at Bear Creek Studios, Woodinville, Washington, December 1996 at WGNS Studios in Washington, DC, January–February 1997 at Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood, California
Genre Alternative rock, post-grunge[1]
Length 46:47
Label Roswell/Capitol
Producer Foo Fighters and Gil Norton
Foo Fighters chronology
Foo Fighters
The Colour and the Shape
There Is Nothing Left to Lose
Singles from The Colour and the Shape
  1. "Monkey Wrench"
    Released: April 28, 1997
  2. "Everlong"
    Released: August 18, 1997
  3. "My Hero"
    Released: January 19, 1998
  4. "Walking After You"
    Released: August 18, 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork Media (5.8/10)[3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau (A-)[5]
The Tune 2.9/5 stars

The Colour and the Shape is the Foo Fighters' second album. It was released on May 20, 1997, through Roswell. The album reached number three in the UK and number ten in the United States. The Colour and the Shape is the Foo Fighters' biggest U.S. seller, having sold over two million copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.[6] The album is considered by many to be the band's Magnum opus.

The album was in total nominated for 5 VMAs in 1997 and 1998, for the videos "Monkey Wrench" and "Everlong". It was also a Grammy nominee for Best Rock Album in 1998.



The album was the debut of Foo Fighters as a band, as frontman Dave Grohl had recorded all of the first album by himself with the exception of one guitar part by Greg Dulli. The Colour and the Shape was produced by Gil Norton, who was perhaps best known for his work with the Pixies. It was loosely conceived by Grohl as a concept album which documented the beginning and end of a romantic relationship.[citation needed] Over the course of the making of the album, Grohl's own marriage to photographer Jennifer Youngblood ultimately ended in divorce.

After six weeks of work at Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, Washington, the band took two weeks off from recording. Grohl returned to Virginia and wrote several new songs, recording one of them, "Walking After You", by himself at WGNS Studios in Washington, DC. The band (minus drummer William Goldsmith) relocated to Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood, California, and re-recorded most of the album with Grohl performing the drum tracks.

Speaking about the tension surrounding the departure of Goldsmith, Grohl in 2011 said, "There were a lot of reasons it didn't work out... but there was also a part of me that was like, you know, i don't know if i'm finished playing the drums yet." He would also state, "I wish that I would have handled things differently..."[7]

Even though Foo Fighters is an American band, the word 'Colour' in the album title is always spelled with the British spelling. This was a nod to producer Norton, who is British. To commemorate the album's tenth anniversary, it was re-released on July 10, 2007, and included six previously released B-sides, consisting of "Dear Lover", "The Colour and the Shape", and four covers, including "Baker Street".

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Doll"   Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, and Pat Smear 1:23
2. "Monkey Wrench"   Grohl, Mendel, Smear 3:51
3. "Hey, Johnny Park!"   Grohl, Mendel, Smear 4:08
4. "My Poor Brain"   Grohl, Mendel, Smear 3:33
5. "Wind Up"   Grohl, Mendel, Smear 2:32
6. "Up in Arms"   Grohl, Mendel, Smear 2:15
7. "My Hero"   Grohl, Mendel, Smear 4:20
8. "See You"   Grohl, Mendel, Smear 2:26
9. "Enough Space"   Grohl 2:37
10. "February Stars"   Grohl, Mendel, Smear 4:49
11. "Everlong"   Grohl 4:10
12. "Walking After You"   Grohl 5:03
13. "New Way Home"   Grohl, Mendel, Smear 5:40
Total length:

Track information


Grohl stated that is "basically a song about being afraid to enter into something you're not prepared for."[8]

Monkey Wrench

Grohl stated that it was "a song about realising that you are the source of all of the problems in a relationship and you love the other person so much, you want to free them of the problem, which is actually yourself. It was a riff that turned into another riff that turned into another riff and ended up being a nice little power punk song. [9] In another interview, Grohl stated his pride in the song, "With Monkey Wrench I remember I had the main riff, but I didn't have the little jangly riff that goes over the top of it and I thought it needed something. So I came up with the jangly riff and thought 'Oh my God this is never gonna fly! Everyone's gonna hate it'. But I was really excited the first time I heard it on the radio - it was in the middle of a load of mid-'90s grunge shit and I thought it was so killer."[10] The song was released as the first single from the album in 1997.

Hey, Johnny Park!

The lyrics to this song follow a series of different themes, as Grohl noted himself, "Oh, my God, that song's about 15 different things! The only reason why it's called 'Hey, Johnny Park!' is because when I was young, my best friend was this kid who lived across the street from me called Johnny Park and we were like brothers from the age of 5 to 12. I haven't heard from him since I was about 14 years old and I thought if I named a song after him he might call."[11]

My Poor Brain

Grohl says of the song, "This song's an experiment with dynamics, whether it's the lyrics or the sound of the song. It's just going from dreamy vocals to screamy vocals and Jackson Five to Black Sabbath. Sling it all in there."[12] This song was first played live in 1996 and was called "Chicken Derby".

Wind Up

A song which lyrically is said to be "the story of the relationship between the journalist and the musician." [13]

Up in Arms

Of the song, Grohl said, "A typical love song. It's almost like a Knack song, just a simple pop song." [14] In another interview Grohl stated, "I wrote that song to be a teenage makeout song. I just love the image of two teenagers making out on the beach listening to that song." [15]

My Hero

Many fans have speculated that this song was a tribute to Grohl's deceased friend and bandmate, Kurt Cobain. However, in Grohl's own words, the song is, "(his) way of saying that when I was young, I didn't have big rock heroes, I didn't want to grow up and be some big sporting hero. My heroes were ordinary people and the people that I have a lot of respect for are just solid everyday people - people you can rely on." [16] This was the third single to be released from the album.

See You

Grohl stated this song was, "Just another pop song. It was the one song that nobody wanted to put on the record, but it's my favourite song. I think that the only reason it ended up on the record was that I re-did the drum track to make it sound like 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' by Queen."[17]

Enough Space

Grohl has said, "[Enough Space] is actually about a movie called Arizona Dream, which is one of my favorite films!" [18] Also, in the 2011 documentary Back and Forth, Grohl mentions that after he had a riff and song idea, he could not find a tempo for the song. Mimicking the jumping/bouncing of European crowds in the beginning of sets, he jumped up and down in order to find the correct tempo.

February Stars

The lyrics are said to be about "hanging on by the tips of your fingers and hoping you don't slip and fall."[19] This song dates back to at least January 1994, when an early take of the song was recorded by Grohl and Krist Novoselic during Nirvana's last recording session.[citation needed]


The song was written when the band took a 2-week break from recording after the initial sessions. Grohl wrote "Everlong" by himself at his home in Virginia. It is considered to be one of the best songs by the band and is highly acclaimed.[20] Grohl was apparently reduced to tears after performing the song at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit. In the words of bandmate Taylor Hawkins, it is a "powerful song." In 2000, David Letterman revealed that it is his favorite song.

Walking After You

This song was written and recorded by Grohl on his own in a studio in Washington. This version appears on the album. The band would later re-record the song with all the members for The X-Files soundtrack. Grohl stated, "It's an emotional, sappy song about getting dumped." [21]

New Way Home

According to Grohl, "That's about winding your way through all of these songs, emotions and pitfalls and ups and downs, but at the end of the day, you realize that you're not scared any more and you're gonna make it."[22]

Bonus track information

  • "Down in the Park" was recorded in January 1996 at Bob Lang's Studio in Seattle, Washington. It was originally released on Songs in the Key of X in 1996. Early takes of "My Hero" and "Enough Space" were also recorded during the session, as well as a new take of a much older Grohl composition entitled "Butterflies". Another unreleased song, "I'm Alone Again", was said to be done at these sessions.
  • "The Colour and the Shape" was recorded during the sessions at Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, Washington.
  • "Dear Lover" was recorded during the sessions at Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood, California. It was released on the Scream 2 soundtrack, but not as a single. It was also included as a bonus track (#14) on the Japanese release of the album.
  • "Requiem", "Drive Me Wild", and "Baker Street" were recorded for BBC Radio 1 Evening Session on April 30, 1997.
  • "Walking After You" was re-recorded in 1998 by the full band (with recent additions Taylor Hawkins and Franz Stahl) and released as a single as part of the soundtrack to the X-Files movie.
  • "Everlong" and "Monkey Wrench" have appeared as playable songs in both the Rock Band and Guitar Hero series of video games. The entire album is available for the Rock Band series, but with the exception of "Everlong," which is on the Rock Band 2 disc, all of the songs must be purchased as downloadable content.


Foo Fighters
  • William Goldsmithdrums on "Doll", "Up In Arms" (credited for slow intro), "My Poor Brain" (verses only, uncredited) and bonus tracks "The Colour and the Shape" (uncredited) and "Down in the Park" (uncredited)
  • Taylor Hawkins – drums on bonus tracks "Requiem", "Drive Me Wild" and "Baker Street"
Additional personnel
  • Lance Bangs, Chris Bilheimer and Ryan Boesch – handclaps on "See You"
  • Gil Norton – production
  • Bradley Cook, Geoff Turner – engineering
  • Ryan Boesch, Todd Burke, Don Farwell, Ryan Hadlock, Jason Mauza – assistant engineering
  • Chris Sheldon – mixing
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Bradley Cook, Geoff Turner – recording technicians
  • Jeffery Fey, Foo Fighters, Tommy Steele – art direction
  • Jeffery Fey, George Mimnaugh – design
  • Andy Engel – logo design
  • Josh Kessler – photography

Chart positions

Chart (1997) Peak
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 5
Austrian Albums Chart 19
Canadian Albums Chart 8
Finland Albums Chart 12
French Albums Chart 24
German Albums Chart 41
New Zealand Albums Chart 10
Norwegian Albums Chart 20
Swedish Albums Chart 10
Swiss Albums Chart 50
UK Albums Chart 3
U.S. Billboard 200 10
Chart (2003) Peak
Finland Albums Chart (re-entry) 5


  • Kerrang! magazine "100 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" - Readers Choice #10 (1998)
  • Kerrang! magazine "100 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" - Editors Choice #95 (1998)


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