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Foo Fighters – [Album]

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Friday, 08 April 2011

If one stands back and really looks at the whole picture, isn't it incredible how far Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters have come in sixteen years? Seriously, look at it; this was the first band to emerge out of the wreckage of Nirvana and it was the drummer's project – those have not historically been long-lasting affairs. The band has endured though, and actually grown in stature with time; now, Grohl and his band  can say they've been joined onstage at a sold-out Wembley Stadium by Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones to play a couple of Led Zeppelin songs and had Lemmy Kilmister make a cameo appearance as the band's chauffeur in one of their music videos. Grohl can and has graciously admitted that it has all been a dream come true and, in listening to Wasted Light, it's hard to wonder if – more than any of the band's other albums – making this one wasn't a bit of a dream come true too; from top to bottom, there's a sort of bubbling joy and giddy goofiness in it that basically say it is the album that Grohl has waited all his life to make and, because he had the ability and wherewithal, that's just what he did.

The sort of 'I always wanted to hear this when I was a kid' vibe that ultimately ends up dominating Wasting Light kicks off ready to go from the opening of “Bridge Burning” as, after a little requisite  warming up from drummer Taylor Hawkins and guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett, Grohl just steps to the mike, shreds a lung and then seems to lay up to see how listeners with react before layering on the uniquely Foo-toned walls of guitar and just riding that high directly to the pleasure center of every listener's brain. Even as one listens, it would be impossible to say that “Bridge Burning” isn't simply a perfectly average Foo Fighters song (there's nothing remarkable like the extended wailing lyrical bridge of “Monkey Wrench” here, nor is it sort of moody like “X-Static” was, and it isn't the sort of barn-burning single that “The Pretender” was either – but the amount of excitement that the band seems to just be exuding here is infectious enough to get listeners singing along, happily. Here, Grohl and the Foos are all in the shape of their lives and they're just blowing heads off effortlessly and the power doesn't dip when “Bridge Burning” gives way to “Rope,” or Grohl borrows the basic rhythm figure from “All Along The Watchtower” for “Dear Rosemary,” it's just sublime and feels like a work of rock n' roll fantasy as they rock harder and faster than they ever have before. At every turn here, Foo Fighters' punk roots (you know – Dave having been in Scream, Pat having been in The Germs, Chris having been in No Use For A Name and all, those roots, and Kris Novoselic shows up to play bass and accordion on one song for kicks too) show proudly but the caustic metal edges of their youth are plainly evident too. It's perfect in its' own way, because listeners can't miss that the band is having an absolute ball as they make it.

So is the fact that Foo Fighters are having a marvelous time infectious enough to get audiences behind Wasting Light too? Surprisingly yes – the album is great fluffy fun that any fan could appreciate. Not only that, but that this record sounds the way it does shows a sort of personal joy in music that hasn't shone through Foo Fighters before like it does here; after sixteen years, the band has finally let its' hair down and just decided to have some fun and made the record they always wanted to hear as kids. While there are no “Ohmigosh!” incredible moments on Wasting Light, it's just good/big/loud/epic/rock n' roll fun, as it should be.

Artist:

www.foofighters.com/

www.myspace.com/foofighters
www.facebook.com/foofighters
www.twitter.com/foofighters

Download:

Foo Fighters – “Rope” – Wasting Light


Album:

Wasting Light
comes out via Roswell/RCA/Sony Music on April 12, 2011. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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Foo Fighters – [Album]

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Sunday, 01 November 2009

Since Dave Grohl first rose from the ashes of Nirvana in 1995, he has managed to set himself apart from the Grunge scene that first drew him notice and establish his own unique voice that has won its own dedicated fan base over the last fourteen years. It wasn't easy and the road to the lauded position he now occupies (having played with everyone from Josh Homme to Jack Black to Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones) is littered with sidemen (the list of dispossessed guitar players alone currently numbers at two, with guitarist Chris Shiflett the third to occupy the position) but, in listening to the Foo Fighters' Greatest Hits package, it's both easy to chart the growth that Grohl has undergone and easy to understand how he rose to the top of the new rock pile. The set pulls together all of the biggest, highest-charting songs in the Foo Fighters' repertoire (but, if you look, not all the singles are present, it's just the biggest ones) as well as a couple of unreleased extras and generally works as a perfectly utilitarian sampling of wares – if little else.

Economy is the key through Greatest Hits' sixteen tracks, as it contains everything a passive listener with a passing interest in the band would look for, it just won't be of much use to long-time fans.

Effort was obviously made to try and establish a running flow between songs like “Breakout,” “Long Road To Ruin,” “This Is A Call” and “Skin And Bones” (why else would it be re-sequenced to ignore chronology?) and it sort of works. The songs unexpectedly fit together surprisingly well in spite of having an obscured focus and a general lack of thematic clarity; for all of the effort made, Greatest Hits  fits the definition of and design for a collection of really good songs – no more, no less.

Of most interest to fans that have followed Foo Fighters since the beginning will likely be the previously unreleased songs “Wheels,” “Word Forward” and an acoustic take on “Everlong” but, to be honest, it's very easy to understand how each fell off the priority list during the sessions that yielded them. That isn't to say they're really bad songs or anything, just that they don't stand out stack against any of the other tracks in the Foo Fighters' songbook – and they look really pale next to the platinum-coated numbers on Greatest Hits. “Wheels” is fluffy half-rock pop that goes down easy and risks being forgettable because it is so slick while the repetitive lyric sheet in “Word Forward” sounds only half finished; the vocals included to be placeholders for further examination and replacement later. The song does have a good melody though and the first verse hits with some Color And The Shape bombast which saves it from being a complete trifle.

In the end, it all boils down to the acoustic demo of “Everlong” that closes Greatest Hits on a strong note. Stripped of the band and stripped of the associated decibels, Dave Grohl whispers out one of the most affecting songs he's ever written with nothing more than an acoustic guitar behind him. That treatment puts into relief the true meaning of the song; while the original take found on Color And The Shape (and also on Greatest Hits) seems to ride a cathartic tide as the singer worries about events beyond his control, the acoustic version recasts those feelings of trepidation to feelings of hope and love. Because of that, “Everlong” becomes a far more rapturous song in spite (or maybe because) of being stripped down, and the jewel for listeners to find in the end. How could it not be? Everything else has been done and this set arrives too close to the original releases (most of these songs are still generating play on radio) to not feel a little played out. In five years, Greatest Hits will be a valuable document to attract new listeners who will then go back and find the other albums but, right now, it can't help but feel a little redundant.

Artist:

www.foofighters.com/

http://www.myspace.com/foofighters

Download:

Foo Fighters – “Everlong (Acoustic)' – Greatest Hits


Album:

Foo Fighters' Greatest Hits comes out November 3, 2009. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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Foo Fighters – [Album]

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Tuesday, 09 October 2007

In spite of the fact that Foo Fighters’ new album encompasses four tenets that imply passive forms of solitude, there isn’t much in the way of passivity in Grace’s dozen tracks—although they do express another reaction to loneliness. Dave Grohl has not sung this hard in years—particularly on faster numbers like “The Pretender” and “Let It Die” that have a propensity to start slow and quiet before exploding—and often resort to the simpler melodies of the band’s first album that favored passion over ability. On a strictly nuts-and-bolts level too, the re-entry of seventh chords into the guitar charts of songs like “Erase/Replace” is a phenomenon not heard in a Foo song (that I can remember) since “Big Me.”

So what is Grace? On a lot of levels, it could be seen as a return to basics for the Foo Fighters but that doesn’t mean the band has totally chucked the progress they’ve made either. There are elements of every single the band has ever released laced into every track on the album as they go from early compositions (the tracks previously mentioned) to maniacally poppy in “Long Road To Ruin,” heartfelt ruminations (“Come Alive,” “Stranger Things Have Happened”) and mixtures of the band’s prior sonic incarnations (“Cheer Up Boys”) and back again. The theme that ties these songs together is a feeling of loneliness, isolation and longing that, while they don’t necessarily present themselves in the music by becoming overwrought, are omnipresent in the lyrics. The constant stream of questions in the lyric sheet turns heartbreaking if you really listen and run the gamut from personal conflicts to professional ones. While Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace undoubtedly signals the end of one sound by tying together the loose ends left by the last six albums, some things will clearly never change, and in those lyrical questions lies the clue: Dave Grohl is still not totally comfortable with his celebrity status in front of the mic, and that fact continues to make Foo Fighters’ music endearing.

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace is out now on RCA.

More on Foo Fighters here: www.foofighters.com

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