REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Band: Foo Fighters
Album: Wasting Light
Release: 2011
Label: EMI
Genre: Alternative Rock

Where does a band with so many solid achievements in their career go afterwards? Back to the garage, in a figurative sense at least given Dave Grohl’s garage outstrips some people’s houses. But while Foo Fighters still manage in their latest, Wasting Light, to return to the The Colour And The Shape era, what is actually created is more remarkable than that. Although Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace was designed to be the cinematic album, this new one hardly pales in comparison. Aptly labeled “chug-pop”, Wasting Light showcases two differing sides of frontman Grohl.

Exploding back onto the scene with infectious opener “Bridge Burning”, this groovy number features the closest to a Nirvana influence since their self-titled album. Despite the drums feeling slightly polished, they still capture the garage rock feel with analog recording and Butch Vig at the helm. The same goes for single “Rope”, showcasing the band’s plans of performing the songs live by inserting a drum and guitar solo. Returning to the fold, Pat Smear brings his punk background in the form of “White Limo”, and Grohl’s softer side emerges in “Dear Rosemary” and “Walk”. The bass has its chances in “I Should Have Known” and “Back And Forth”, while Hawkins holds everything together throughout with a solid beat.

Grohl’s voice is in great shape on this album, whether soulfully singing on ballad “I Should I Have Known”, adding a Springsteen twang to powerful closer “Walk” or bellowing his lungs out on “White Limo”. He still sings powerfully, adding some weight to the otherwise mostly repetitive and slightly lackluster lyrics. Grohl reverts to his previous nonsensical mentality on some tracks, such as the line “Whatever happened to DayGlo clothes?”; others have stronger lines: “Truth ain’t gonna change the way you lie/Youth ain’t gonna change the way you die”. Admittedly, the lyrics are easy to learn and good to sing along to, but lack the punch that makes them timeless anthems.

In terms of flaws on this album, there are a couple of forgettable songs such as “These Days” and “A Matter Of Time”, and an otherwise brilliantly heavy “White Limo” is ruined by vocal effects.
One major issue and at the same time credit to this album is its ability to make history take a back seat. Bob Mould, a claimed influence on the Foos, is relegated to a harmonizing role on “Dear Rosemary”. “I Should Have Known”, featuring 3 of the creators of Nevermind, could equally well be a touching tribute to roadie Jimmy Swanson or an elegy to the missing Nirvana member.

Like most Foo albums, there are strong and weak moments, but those are to be discovered by those who listen. It will probably be hailed by many as Album Of The Year, but for me it sits as a solid part of the discography, neither blowing anything else out the water nor bringing it down. The remarkable thing with Wasting Light is the band’s ability to create arena rock from garage rock, and for that they should be commended.

Rating: 8/10

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