In all honesty, I hadn’t paid much attention to Dave’s work before that: I was only six years old when Kurt Cobain died, so my Nirvana fandom bloomed later in life (though believe me, I got there). But this – THIS was dark and cacophonous, despite somehow still being an upbeat song, and my angsty, goth-leaning, Nine Inch Nails-obsessed self felt like I could get lost in it forever.
I finally got my hands on the One By One CD for my 15th birthday in early 2003. I sat on the floor of my bedroom, opened the CD with the stark, cartoonish-looking heart on the cover, and popped it into the stereo. My heart did its usual flip-flops in anticipation for the buildup in All My Life while I thumbed through the pages of the liner notes and came across the spread of dark, high-contrast black and white portraits of each of the band members. There was Mr. Grohl, sporting a brand new goatee, and looking weathered, wise, and, I was shocked to see, downright gorgeous. Perhaps it was a convergence of my teenage hormones and Dave’s move away from his impish, pigtail-swinging days, but in that moment, I fell hard. I listened to the rest of the album, stealing glances at his photo between poring over the lyrics in the liner notes.