The Colour and the Shape is the second studio album by American rock band Foo Fighters, released on May 20, 1997 by Roswell and Capitol Records. Produced by Gil Norton, it was the official debut of the Foo Fighters as a band, as their eponymous 1995 debut album was primarily recorded by frontman Dave Grohl and producer Barrett Jones as a demo. After the project ballooned and became an international success, the group convened for pre-production on their second album in the fall of 1996, and brought in producer Norton to establish a pop sensibility for the tracks. The band strived to create a full-fledged rock record, although the music press predicted another grunge offshoot.
Primarily inspired by Grohl's divorce from photographer Jennifer Youngblood in 1996, the lyricism on The Colour and the Shape is substantially more introspective and the music more developed. The album's track listing was designed to resemble a therapy session, splitting the album between uptempo tracks and ballads, reflecting conflicting emotions. Early sessions at the Bear Creek studio in Washington were poor and led the band to discard most of the recordings. The band regrouped without drummer William Goldsmith in early 1997 to record a second time at Hollywood's Grandmaster Recordings studio, with Grohl sitting in on drums instead. Goldsmith was offended and disgruntled that most of his material was re-recorded, and left the band shortly thereafter.
The singles "Monkey Wrench", "Everlong" and "My Hero" peaked within the top ten of US rock radio charts, and the album charted at number three in the United Kingdom. Critics found the album a significant American rock release of the era, and it is now viewed as a seminal modern rock album. It was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1998 for Best Rock Album. The Colour and the Shape is the Foo Fighters' biggest U.S. seller, having sold over two million copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album was remastered and reissued in 2007 with several bonus tracks for its tenth anniversary.
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