I have to confess that I did not pay much attention to Foo Fighters through the years. So many artists, so little time, you know? But my ears pricked up like a German Shepherd''s when I heard "Shame Shame" on the radio (repeatedly), so here I am. This is an unusual, and...
I have to confess that I did not pay much attention to Foo Fighters through the years. So many artists, so little time, you know? But my ears pricked up like a German Shepherd''s when I heard "Shame Shame" on the radio (repeatedly), so here I am. This is an unusual, and eclectic, rock album. My perception is that the tracks represent different styles, yet do not sound like mere imitations. Most are hybrids of more than one style. There is classic rock, grunge, glam, and more. The production is tight. Most tracks end abruptly, no long fadeouts. There are ornamental elements, but not overdone. All this would seem to make it "pop-friendly", and so it is. According to Wikipedia, Dave Grohl himself called it "this really up, fun record", and drummer Taylor Hawkins described it as more "pop-oriented" than their prior releases. To me, "fun record" is a little dismissive. It is fun, but it has more substance than that. At least they didn''t do a cover of "I Think We''re Alone Now".
My favorite, "Shame Shame", is basically dark and grungy. At the same time it percolates, and it is enhanced with an element of early 21st century hip-hop. (This is done so smoothly that it took me a long time to conclude that what I was hearing sounded like hip-hop.) "Waiting On A War" is classic rock, melodic, with strings. "No Son Of Mine" is classic rock with riffs and other effects that sound like Led Zeppelin. "Chasing Birds" is just about as sweet as a slow-dance on a 60''s prom night. "Love Dies Young" starts like Heart''s "Barracuda", but it settles into a less menacing rock track. "Making A Fire" is grungy, and "Holding Poison" ventures into glam (the background vocals, the playful approach musically, the bouncy tempo). "Cloudspotter" and the title song are hybrids that are difficult to label, and they are impressive.
But, what are these songs about? I have to say that most of the lyrics defy literal interpretation. There are some noteworthy lines, like these from "Cloudspotter" : "Swing, swing guillotine queen/Swing it from the left to the right/Bang! Bang! Bang!/You''re so mean/But don''t we look good?" I believe I spotted 2 recurring themes in the lyrics. One is war, or anti-war. "Waiting On A War" expresses anxiety about what could happen: "Everyday waiting for the sky to fall/Big crash on a world that''s so small". In "No Son Of Mine", there is indictment of those who instigate wars: "No son of mine will ever do/The work of villains, the will of fools...No son of mine will ever be/Under the power vested in thee/March into slaughter down on his knees". The other theme is hopelessness. From "Holding Poison": "Sometimes I dream...And then I bleed and I bleed and I bleed/I get the feeling there ain''t nothing that I can do." From "Chasing Birds": "Chasing birds/To get high/I''m never coming down...Say goodbye/I''m never coming back/Here comes another heart attack." And finally, from "Love Dies Young": "Love dies young/And there''s no resuscitation/Once it''s done/No regeneration...Never-ending cemeteries/Funeral parades/All your dreams are buried in their place." Well, I did say that it wasn''t all fun, didn''t I?