It’s been quite a few years since the Foo Fighters have put together a collection of music for us. It was in 2007 when Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, swooned onto top 40 radio with soft rock balladry and glossy hooks. As well, Foo Fighters have come a long way from their early sound, which was essentially grunge-tinged radio rock, and gave us classic singles like This is a Call, Everlong, and My Hero.
But frontman Dave Grohl has said many times in interviews that he doesn’t want to the band to be seen as a 90″²s group, and he has openly admitted, although with hesitance, that he understands they have released weaker records and have largely stayed within the box for the last decade.
Wasting Light is a fresh album. It’s a conscious effort to deliver a great follow-up record so many years since their last, and is one of the strongest albums they have released in years.
White Limo may have you believe that the band is releasing a hard punk record, and is this abrasive dissonant piece of work that is bizarre as it is heavy. It’s a nice little throwback to what I know Grohl has on his pallete behind all the radio ballad bullshit.
Which makes the song a peculiar single. White Limo isn’t representative of this album’s sound, where songs such as These Days sound more gloss-infused radio staple the Foos are known for. And Arlandria is a gorgeously structured song that gives classic staples in the band’s catalog a run for it’s money. Songs such as I Should Have Known use strings to full effect and build an atmospheric work that is impressive and sensual in scope and style- arguably the best song of the album and a sure gem.
The Foo Fighters aren’t all that great at putting together albums. For every record they have released, therein lies a rather hit-or-miss collection of tracks that are only tied together by release date and nothing more. A Foo Fighters record doesn’t tell a story, it doesn’t particularly flow well, and there are pieces of pop genius smack between two principally derivative tracks that could have just as easily been b-sides. Wastling Light is, truthfully, no different. It shows that the Foo Fighters can do a few things well. And even though Arlandria is an album highlight and deserves notoriety on any discussion of the band, and White Limo is a quick pushy allusion to their sound of the 90″²s, Wasting Light is a body of work encapulsated by a checklist of standards proven to work. It’s also worth noting that the album isn’t particularly long. It leaves you and succeeds in not overstaying its welcome. The band have kept the indulgence suppressed, and it has made for a far better record (filler quotient not met).
This may sound harsh, but the Foo Fighters are safe players. Dave Grohl and Co. can write a pop song. They can write an AMAZING pop song. So at this stage of their career, do they push the envelope and face possible critical destruction, or do they release a solid reasonably cohesive PRODUCT to give an excuse to tour and play their hits?
Wasting Light is worth a listen because in every Foo Fighters record, their are pieces of proven talent- artists that have mastered their craft and honed their abilities to give you a focused sound that keeps experimentation to a minimum and the style formulaic. Unlike other bands who release the same styled album again and again, Foo Fighters have high standards and their traditional sound is already superior to contemporaries in the act. I can only thank the band for insisting on moving forward. Their not trying to beat their old sound, or alter the style with dramatic appeal, but they do prove that longevity offers respect and class- and making quality music is the heart of the music industry.
Keepers for the IPOD
I Should Have Known