In 1994, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl created an entirely new band to continue on with his musical endeavors after the ending of Nirvana. However the difference was Grohl was not on drums. He was fronting the band.
In 1995, this band called Foo Fighters released their self-titled debut album Foo Fighters. Bring it back to 2011, you have a band that has released six additional albums, and won numerous awards. Many may wonder how they keep the momentum going throughout the years. Freshman Arlie Honeycutt speaks to the Foo Fighters’ career, “I think the fact that they’ve managed to remain a staple in the music industry for so long speaks to their ability to evolve. If they continue to be musically innovative, I could absolutely see them maintaining their popularity for years to come!”
Their newest album Wasting Light brings a new, yet familiar approach to the band’s music. Anyone who has listened to Foo Fighters song is quick to pick up on the catchy songwriting and unique sound. Wasting Light combines this classic sound, and adds a raw heaviness to the album. This rawness stems from the fact that the album was recorded to analog tape, in Grohl’s garage. The premise may sound tacky from a production standpoint, but a band that has been playing together for over fifteen years understand themselves well enough to keep it simple, and make it work.
Among the unorthodox way Wasting Light was recorded, the band’s lineup changed for the album. Foo Fighters, always a four-piece band, expanded by having original lead guitarist Pat Smear rejoin the band, playing alongside his replacement Chris Shiflett. Having two lead guitarists in the Foo Fighters, along with Grohl on rhythm, provides for a unique sound like no other. The songs seem to have a newfound drive that is heard throughout the entire album. Freshman Ivan Potter-Smith comments on the album’s change of sound, “I’d give it a chance, but I’d probably only listen to random tracks on the album, and if I like them, listen to the whole thing.”
The album starts off strong with “Bridge Burning”, a song with an eerie chord progression turning into an explosion of rock. “Rope” the lead single comes next, and sets the tone for the next few songs by talking about Grohl feelings of restraint. Next comes one of the standout songs on the album, “Dear Rosemary”, strongly showcasing the band’s musical prowess.
“White Limo” breaks this theme, by being a hilarious song with Grohl screaming like a banshee about a white limo. Employing elements of scremo, the Foos really surprised me with this song. Whether or not the limo is symbolic, there is no denying the amount of fun the band had with “White Limo”. The album continues on with songs like “Arlandria” which pick back up with the theme of restraint.
Following this, the album slips into a bit of a slow point with songs like “These Days”, “Back & Forth”, and “A Matter of Time”. While these songs are good, they seem to rely too much on a sound that doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the album. Afterwards another highpoint of the album appears via “Miss the Misery”, creating the prefect flow of instrumentals and vocals, which complement each other perfectly.
The album takes a somber turn with “I Should Have Known”, about Grohl’s former Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain’s suicide, and it’s impact on him. Appearing on this track is former Nirvana bandmate and bassist Krist Novoselic.
The album finishes off with “Walk” arguably one of the best songs in the Foo Fighters’ arsenal. The song begins slowly with Grohl singing, “I’m learning to talk again. Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough. Where do I begin?” These lyrics seem to convey to the public that Grohl is tired of being compared with Nirvana, and is ready to have Foo Fighters seen as a separate entity. This song is a must hear, with a mass appeal to a wide variety of audiences.
Seeing how Wasting Light is band’s seventh studio album, it’s easy to accuse the band of sounding familiar. But Foo Fighters manage to build upon their ever-present style in clever and unique ways. Wasting Light surely won’t disappoint listeners who enjoy maturing music with a hint of that classic sound.
By Evan (RockSetProductions)