After a series of mostly competent, generally unsurprising albums from one of the last bastions of the musical era they hailed from in a music landscape that finds its genre striving for originality, and then a bizarre detour into an album. of Bee Gees covers, Dave Grohl. and his band were recently struck by tragedy. While the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins and the inspiring benefit concerts and moving stories that followed were highly publicized in the news cycle, less central was the passing of Grohl’s mother, Virginia, just five months later. While it’s long been known that some of the best art comes out of the worst circumstances, it seems the Foo Fighters are taking that concept to the extreme with some of the most exciting and emotionally potent songs since their peak of popularity. Despite some serious mixing issues that still crop up from time to time, but here we are is a must-read for anyone who has been tangentially interested in the band over the years – listening to Grohl’s dominated voice trying to process everything that happened to him is an incredibly moving experience, as the album creeps through the stages of pain
Grohl opens the album on the song “Rescued” with a stunned “it came in an instant,” and the rest of the song finds him seriously shocked, confused, and angry at how much his world turned upside down without warning. The track also contains some of the roughest, most distorted and gritty vocals on the entire album, making the raw emotions hit even harder. With a creeping shout out to the “kings and queens and the in-betweens” in the chorus, Grohl stresses that tragedy strikes us all indiscriminately, while he waits for a savior or a spark. Grohl takes over on drums on this project, and he certainly does Hawkins proud – there are some very engaging and complex drum patterns here across the board, like the sizzling hi-hats that punctuate the pre-chorus here. While the mix is incredibly dull and muddy here, especially when the band furiously attacks their instruments in the final stretch, a theory has been put forth that the tracks are more distorted when Grohl is trying to block out the noise and forget about the tragedy it is. big. However, it doesn’t make something like “Under You” any more audible. I wish we could better hear the catchy melodic moments and guitar riffs they’re so well known for, as they drown under a wall of static. As far as a stadium-sized hook goes, though, this track might have the best. In a series of somber and sad moments, and this one is no different lyrically when Grohl looks at old photos of his bandmate in disbelief, unable to move on, this one is ready to be sung as the chords of power reverberate.
Yet another minor key moment comes with “Hearing Voices”. It’s one of the most lyrically affecting songs here, and the creepy, paranoid instrumental highlights this even more when Grohl drops his voice on the verses, singing as if he’s trying not to wake anyone and reflecting the idea that he’s having nights. of insomnia as thoughts invade your mind. Grohl talks about hearing voices everywhere, but none that he wants to hear, as the track leads to a cool acoustic ending. The title track focuses on the lyric “I gave you my heart, but here we are” and touches on the feeling that Grohl has all the hopes and plans for the future and builds the relationships he wants, but none of it matters to the force. he took it all. It’s the kind of sentiment that makes you want to excuse the blaring mix in the back and rage along with it. It’s one of the punchier instrumental tracks, especially on the drums, and there’s an amazing moment in this one where the backdrop cuts out for a second to hear how fierce Grohl’s scream is as he falls on the chorus, backing up and talking to himself. himself about whether it is all an “illusion” or not. After such a loud one, the transition to the quieter and more acoustic “The Glass” is well placed. The track boasts a very soulful and beautiful melody, and it’s still impressive after all these years to hear Grohl able to shake you to the core with earnestness and vocal talent, even when he tones it down. With a great metaphor, Grohl tries to cross the thin transparent barrier that separates him from his loved ones.
Track “Nothing At All” feels like the least essential to the album’s narrative, and while I can see how it could work thematically with the tempo getting faster and out of control as it progresses towards the chorus, it’s the one that works. . at least as a captivating song. With stabs of reggae-infused guitar in the chorus and a bit of a filter on Grohl’s vocals, which should probably never get dull, it’s a bit of an anomalous here. “Show Me How” actually features Grohl’s 17-year-old daughter Violet on backing vocals, and she brings some dreampop energy to the proceedings with a more airy voice than you’d expect from the scion of a legend. of the rock Smoothing things out with some great harmonies in the back, the two sing about losing a family member who had your best interests at heart, guiding your path through life; it’s a sentiment that continues on “The Teacher.” Before we reach the album’s epic conclusion, however, “Beyond Me” is another antemic, cathartic, and strangely calming rock song as Grohl begins to accept things, not wanting to deal with the forces of the universe that are more beyond him. .
The final two tracks on the album are fifteen minutes long, with one final song dedicated to Grohl’s mother and another to Hawkins as he finally puts them to rest and finds peace. “The Teacher,” named after his mother’s profession, is 10 minutes of an experimental prog-rock ethos I wasn’t sure the band still had in them, with some mantric lyrics reinvented in shifting contexts. Grohl begins to try to live in the moment and appreciates each breath, even though the person who showed him how to breathe, taught him how to do everything but process unfathomable pain, is gone. With a repeated chant of “wake up” as he tries to come to terms with reality, the distortion ramps up at the end and she roars “goodbye” four times. The closer, “Rest” is almost impossible to listen to without crying. Beginning as a quiet, somber vigil, Grohl eventually utters repeatedly “now you can rest” and “now you’ll be safe”, giving in to the “play of luck” that is living experience before singing the same chorus with the usual Foo. The ferocity of the fighters.
After quite a few years of middling production, creating something like this in the wake of a tragedy like this is a pretty stellar achievement and only continues to cement Dave Grohl’s position as one of the most respected and successful musicians of all time. I would love to see this reinvigorated creativity continue.
Favorite themes: Rest, The teacher, The glass, Hearing voices, Rescued
Least Favorite Track: Nothing at all