Friday, August 19, 2011

Music Album Review: Wasting Light by the Foo Fighters

Wasting Light further solidifies the Foos as one of the best bands of the past ten years, a band that consistently produces great modern rock 'n' roll over and over again.
"Wasting Light" is the Foo Fighters seventh album, following up Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, released four years ago. The lead singer Dave Grohl, and Pat Smear, who plays lead and rhythm guitars are former members of grunge rock band Nirvana, and the bass player for Nirvana Krist Novoselic, also has a cameo in the track "I Should Have Known". Since Nirvana, the Foo Fighters have grown by leaps and bounds as one of the biggest rock bands worldwide. In 2009, the band released a "Greatest Hits" album, and this is their first effort since then. The album clocks in at 47 minutes and 11 tracks, which is about average for a Foo Fighters album.
We start with “Bridge Burning” which is an excellent opener, and starts with the lyrics “these are my famous last words”. It’s an energetic, raw opening, and sets you up nicely for the rest of the album. Just in case you're not very familiar with the band's albums, the Foo Fighters often get their albums starting this way; a great quality hard rock track that really perks you up for what’s to come, and can easily be compared to "In Your Honor" and "Stacked Actors" in that respect.

The first single to be released off the album was “Rope”, which is also the second track on the album. Personally, I think it's okay, it’s not as good as their previous debut singles off other albums, I much prefer “The Pretender”, “All My Life” and “Monkey Wrench” as debut singles in comparison. Also, I think other songs on the album are better than this. I don’t want to feel like I’m talking anything away from “Rope”, it’s a decent song, and an understandable choice for a single, I just feel personally, there’s better songs on the album.

Track three is one of my favourite songs on the album, “Dear Rosemary”, a song that's a direct message to someone named "Rosemary", although this could easily be a name to cover up someone else. I find the lyrics can relate to Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, and as Grohl often writes about his feelings towards his former bandmate. I don't know the answer, it's just my interpretation of course.

My favourite song on the album however is “White Limo” which is a proper homage to heavy rock and metal, and is an effort very similar in vein to some “Queens of the Stone Age” tracks, particularly “Tension Head”, and as the bandmates of both bands are great friends (Dave Grohl has played for TQotSA before, and both Grohl and Josh Homme played together in the band Them Crooked Vultures), it could easily be a tribute. "White Limo" just sounds fantastic, and Grohl has always had a voice that easily could work in a harder genre of music. It's something I've always wanted to see him do more consistently, but that image wouldn't work often for the Foo Fighters.

Other noticible tracks are "These Days", which is a particularly lovely song, and is similar to other songs on previous albums, like "Resolve" and "Everlong"; in the respect that the song mixes both the softer sounds of rock and Grohl's vocals, and then the choruses taking a more upbeat and heavier element. The track "Back and Forth" definitely brings back a sound associated with Grohl's previous band, Nirvana. It almost feels like a good homage to the band he drummed so well for. The second single "Walk" is the final track of the album, and while it's another solid track, it doesn't feel like the type of track to end an album, and while the album doesn't end abruptly, it does feel like it may have gone on a bit longer.

This is a solid album, however it doesn't really feel like the band have really progressed forward. That's not to say it's a step back, it isn't. I don't know if that means they'll never reach another step going forward, it can be argued they don't need to. They're a veteran band now, they've been going for a good seventeen years and this is their seventh album. They have an incredible following. It's not a criticism to say "they haven't moved forward", but an observation. The Foo Fighters are one of the most consistent bands around, in terms of all their efforts being solid, and for them not really having a peak moment. I can easily list you great songs by the Foo Fighters, but albums? They're all good, they're not classics, but they're never duds either. "Wasting Light" continues this trend, it's a great effort, there's no lacking quality here. It further solidifies the Foo Fighters as one of the stand out bands of the past ten years, a band that produce great modern rock 'n' roll over and over again. I don't ever see the band taking a step backwards. I just don't know if they can get any bigger or better, that's all.

Rating: **** stars

Stand out tracks: White Limo, These Days, Dear Rosemary

"White Limo", my favourite track, wasn't a single, but this excellent video was directed by Dave Grohl himself and has Lemmy from Motorhead in it. It's well worth a look!
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