Foo Fighters – “Wasting Light”

Arguably one of the biggest rock bands in the world today, Foo Fighters are back with their seventh studio album Wasting Light. After their last album Echoes, Silence, Patience, Grace I personally found Foo Fighters to be coming out with one particularly good song per album, and the rest coming across as background songs – just the same old stuff on a new album.

With Wasting Light, Dave Grohl took his band back to the drawing board and took a close look at their “early days” albums like their debut and The Colour and The Shape, and took on producer Butch Vig who had produced Nirvana’s Nevermind album to put the new album together. Right from the outset, it is possible to tell that going back to basics has worked in their favour.

Album opener Bridge Burning is evidence of Foo Fighters going back to their The Colour and The Shape era, with a more melodic sound of Monkey Wrench taking the foreground on this song but with a different kind of twist behind it. It’s powerful, like their recent stuff as show by Dave Grohl’s opening line of “These are my famous last WOOORDS”, but also more technical and melodic at the same time.

First single Rope introduces a new, ethereal sound to what they are trying to achieve on Wasting Light before the anthemic chorus comes in and gives a feeling of nostalgia, already showing just how much Foo Fighters are going back to the days of experimenting and trying out new sounds. White Limo also goes in a new direction, taking on a heavier kind of rock with its angry, distorted vocals coming across more like a combination of Foo Fighters’ powerful rock and a Queens of the Stone Age stoner-rock fuzz. This is also a good reminder of Dave Grohl’s side project Them Crooked Vultures, as White Limo could easily have been lifted off of that album too.

These Days is a pleasant, chilled out song to start with, contrasting a lot of the rock madness on the rest of the album, but then becomes something much bigger as it grows into a more butch, beastly song showing how Foo Fighters don’t want anything to slow the pace they started the album with.

Back and Forth and A Matter of Time both have a mix of heavy, fuzzy guitars and Taylor Hawkins’ salvo-like drumming layered under melodic vocals, demonstrating more straight-talking lyrics like “my past is getting us nowhere fast, I was never one for taking things slow”. These kinds of simple lyrics over a stripped back sound show that Foo Fighters can exist without a big budget studio recording and come out with something as good as this.

The heavy bass middle section in I Should Have Known comes courtesy of ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, and was apparently written about Dave Grohl dealing with the suicide of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain so it’s fitting that the singer and the bassist of that former band should re-unite for this song, before Walk closes the album.

If it took Dave Grohl and company going back to their roots, working out of their garage and stripping back to a rawer, unpolished sound to produce something as good as Wasting Light, then clearly it’s a formula that works incredibly well for them!

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