As you may know, I tend to get really over-excited about certain things. Tell me something new, right Zerfy? But seriously, this new Foo Fighters album remains my most anticipated album release since I would say, One By One, in 2002 (also a Foo Fighters album), which was the previous height of my Foo Fighters obsession.
The new album is going to be titled Wasting Light and is slated for an April 12 release date. Color me jacked up with some of the bubbly on ice!
At this juncture I have, via osmosis, gathered a great deal of information about this album. First and foremost, it’s a back to basics effort which is scary to me, because it usually means a band is trying too hard (to find themselves publicly again?), which I believe has plagued the Foo’s in the past. Without even trying the grandiose “back to the basics” journey that has failed so many bands previously. At first thought, this could go really well, or really terribly. Simple as that.
Grohl has proclaimed recently for the fans and pundits alike that this turned out to be a “simple, yet massive” album. I have personally heard two of the studio outputs as well as watched countless video’s of every new song performed live in their “introduction tour”, which by the way featured 30 song setlists. Damnit I want to live on the west coast. Ok, I don’t, but the Foo’s put that thought in my head from time to time during times like these (hey-o!). It is nice however to be able to live vicariously through these lucky folks on Youtube. Oh, what a day of technology we live in. I actually would see in some of the videos I was watching, the people that were shooting the videos I just previously viewed. If that makes sense!? CRAZY!?
Anyway…here are some other things I’ve picked up over the last couple of months…
- It’s a front to back ROCK record. No real acoustic guitar or “Next Year” type of ballad will be found. They do, as per usual, have songs that start really slow and build, and/or breakdown in an up-and-down Foo Fighters fashion. But, they don’t let it get too sappy.
- Since There’s Nothing Left to Lose, Dave Grohl has chosen to record in his own state of the art Studio 606, conveniently located a few minutes away from his house. That and the addition of Chris Shiftlett on guitar (No Use for a Name, Me First & the Gimmie Gimmies) are credited with adding an additional polish to their material in comparison to the first two albums. The man plays a smooth guitar. This time around, Grohl decided to record in his garage. The small room and desolate drywall only walls are said to have created a raw, primal, intense sound.
- If that isn’t enough, this baby was recorded without electronics, with a 24-track tape system. The group enlisted famed, detail oriented producer, Butch Vig, who worked with Grohl 20 years ago on Nirvana’s Nevermind. When presented with the idea to record analog (“go analog baby, you’re so post-modern!” --Say Anything) said, “that will take a lot of work, because you then have to play perfect”, and further commented that things turned out fantastic because “they are badass players.” No computers…no bullshit…no protools…no autotune…just Grohl.
- Earlier, I mentioned the slickness that Chris Shiftlett brought to the band, when he replaced Pat Smear, who also worked with Grohl in Nirvana and as guitarist in the Color and the Shape era. He is now a full-time touring, recording, living/breathing part of the band again. Wow that’s nice to see! Also, that means there are three roaring guitar lines at live shows and God knows how many layers in studio.
- I believe this album has a little bit of a Them Crooked Vultures effect. Whenever Grohl tours and spends chunks of time as a drummer, he tends to come into the studio with a vendetta against softer music. They certainly as a band have had a natural ebb and flow, but he wanted to go vicious after playing with Josh Homme a few years ago with Queens of the Stone Age. I think his time again with Homme and of course John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) sparked him again to go big…and loud…in other words…go ROCK!
A few studio samples have shown themselves as to what we’re going to be treated to come April. The single “Rope” came out recently. If you haven’t heard it you can find it here:
This is just a great rock song. I would never peg it to be a single. The first thing that truly excites me is to hear the blended vocals with Taylor and Dave. I’ve been calling for the band to become more of a BAND, rather than the Grohl orchestra for a long time. As weird as it sounds (pertaining to my Grohl obsession), I think the other Foo Fighters should have more of a hand in things. I like how over the years Grohl has turned the Foo’s into a frat party of harmonious rock jams as opposed to a bunch of guys that help him fill out his demos. The standard is set by giving Taylor split lead on the intro vocals for the first single. YES! Thank you Dave! My prayers have been answered!
With that said, I am blown away by how well their voices blend together. Taylor’s classic rock drawl pureed with Grohl’s smoother rock howl—for a well packaged psychedelic parlay of rock goodness. I can’t get enough. I called for it…and it was received. Then, Grohl growls and the hook ensues, loud and proud, in grandiose Foo Fighters fashion. They do this better than anyone in the biz!
The other thing I love is the riff. It has a huge Rush sound to me. The intro effect is unique and all moving parts seem pretty simplistic, but they are fit together in a way that makes the song sound assertively more complex, without thinking too hard. Everything has room to breathe.
The drumline is all over the place with some nice stop-and-start timings (like my favorite Canadian three piece). When Grohl hits the hook, Hawkins is delicately assaulting the upper part of the kit giving focus to the huge hook, yet the timing is slightly twisted out of focus, allowing a nice layer and piece it back together effect. The middle of the song has a savory drum solo breakdown which will be insanely fun to see live. Again, it’s clear that Grohl is fine turning the keys over to Hawkins and letting the timing of the band revolve around drum kit, which believe it or not has been lacking in previous efforts to rock. I like when drummers write drum songs and this is clearly one of them, only it’s more like the kind Taylor writes, rather than what Dave writes. But, Taylor can’t make it sound THIS catchy, hence where the teamwork and Foo Fighter namesake comes into fruition.
This is a fantastic all around Foo Fighter effort. Nothing crazy. Just a good rock song with all the elements I find endearing in the Foo Fighters. Good start.
Props first of all for the home made video, use of Lemmy (from Motorhead) as limo driver and of course the “Tuences the Driving Cat” finale. There really isn’t anything NOT to like about the video.
The song on the other hand just makes me giddy. It’s certainly a throwback to “Weenie Beenie” and “Wattershed”, songs that pair screaming nonsense with an unexpected catchy hook. This type of song is classic “old school” Foo Fighters and is almost too ridiculous to take seriously. With that said, this turned out remarkably well. Grohl’s vocals don’t sound like anything he’s done in a decade. It’s almost a little bit too raw, but it still works. This song takes a few twists and turns much like the driving of Lemmy in the video, but remains what should certainly be a screamer staple at live shows.
And unlike “Wattershed” and “Weenie Beenie” this offering is slick enough you could almost get away with casually listening to it at a tailgate or something. I say almost. This song is at the top end of the “raw-rockers” on the album and I was absolutely flabbergasted that it was the first studio song to surface from the Foo lair. Indeed, this remarkable pairing with Valentine’s Day really keeps the Foo’s nonsensical marketing fashionably rocksteady.
“White Limo” takes me back to 1995, but with everything I know now. It’s pretty much a dream of a song that I never thought I’d get the chance to hear again. Like if you had the chance to go back to high school (about the time “Weenie Beanie” was a cult classic) and realize popularity, clothes, every person you know at that point…really doesn’t matter. DOESN’T MATTER. This song beams with that kind of reflective confidence. Not the kind of confusion that was found in Quantum Leap when Dr. Sam Beckett would ask Al Calavicci questions and he’d hit his stupid little remote control and it would make that stupid screetch-screaming noise. This is not that. It’s stupid song swagger only the Foo Fighters could pull off.
And I love it. Perhaps, Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad after all!