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Friday, April 29, 2011

Foo Fighters -- Wasting Light

I hesitated to write up a review of this album for as long as I could. Foo Fighters have always had a tendency to put out some incredibly strong singles (14 years later, "Everlong" is still one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded) and then surround those songs with incredibly bland, samey filler. Dave Grohl most likely thinks just as much, even going so far as saying of fourth album, One by One, "four of the songs were good, and the other seven I never played again in my life.." I wanted to make sure my first positive listens weren't just hype from the good songs drowning out the others, but a month on, I can make a definitive statement:
Foo Fighters have released the best and most cohesive album of their career.
The first single, "Rope," is on par with most of the bands greatest work. It is preceded by an almost equally strong opening track "Bridge Burning." I was expecting the intensity to fade immediately after "Rope," as it usually does by the third track of a Foo Fighters album. The tempo does slow for "Dear Rosemary," but the groove is still heavy, and the chorus is still catchy. The momentum doesn't stop. It never does. The next track, "White Limo," is easily the craziest, awesomest thing they have done in years, and you should watch the video right now so you can see how awesome it is:

Okay, now that you've done that, you can go buy this and find out that the next track is awesome, and so is the one after that, and the one after that, and all the rest of them. It's crazy, but beyond just putting out some great singles, Foo Fighters have actually put out a pretty great album.
I think the difference between this and most of the Foo Fighter's previous albums is that the ballads do not suck. I would hesitate to even call them ballads. It's just that for once, when the tempo slows down, the album does not. The songs are still great. On top of that, the more uptempo tracks don't bleed into each other, which is usually Foo Fighter's most egregious offense. Every track differentiates itself from the next nicely. Every song is actually good.
So go buy this now, unless you hate rock music, in which case you are stupid, so go away.
P.S. Nirvana bassist, Krist Novoselic, makes a guest appearance on the second to last track, "I Should Have Known." His performance is distinctive and wonderful, and if regular bassist Nate Mendel (who turns in solid work here, as well) ever decides to join back up with Sunny Day Real Estate, Grohl should ask his old Nirvana bandmate to come back full time.

LAZY COMPARISON: Like a Foo Fighter's greatest hits album, except all the songs are new.

2011 RCA Records
1. Bridge Burning 4:46
2. Rope 4:19
3. Dear Rosemary 4:26
4. White Limo 3:22
5. Arlandria 4:28
6. These Days 4:58
7. Back and Forth 3:52
8. A Matter of Time 4:36
9. Miss the Misery 4:33
10. I Should Have Known 4:15
11. Walk 4:15


buck09 said...

Nice! I was pleasantly surprised by this album as well. Totally agree. I still like the classics such as Everlong and the other early hits I seem to have a brain fart and can't remember the titles to the ones I want. I have been enjoying your reviews even more than the writers over at decoy, although I like some of those guys writing styles quite a bit as well or I wouldn't frequent the site on a daily basis.

Nicholas said...

Thanks, man! "Everlong" is definitely my favorite FF song, and I've always liked most of the singles. This is the first time they wrote a hard-rocking album I enjoyed every track of. I like every song on There is Nothing Left to Lose, too, but it is a lot more mellow than this one.

buck09 said...

Definitely a solid rock album! Reminded me in a way of The Damned Things album from last year. Just straight up old school (but new) rock and roll. I was never a real Foo Fighters fan and just remember the singles from 99-2002 or so that were plastered on the radio, which is basically the only way I discovered new music back then. I'm sure I missed out on a lot of underground 'hipster' shit but I have become obsessed this last year and can't go a day without searching out more music. I'm up to almost 20,000 songs in my itunes now.