10 Albums in 10 Days: Day 5
FOO FIGHTERS, WASTING LIGHT, 2011
Of course I couldn’t compile 10 albums from various stages of my life without including the Foo Fighters, who are, to this day still the best live band I have ever seen. TOOL, Jane’s Addiction, Linkin Park and Blink 182 are just a handful of the super impressive names toppled by Dave Grohl’s charisma and the sheer rock energy of the Fooeys.
Choosing which album to review however, was not as easy, because what a repertoire they have at their helm; from the Colour And The Shape, which is home to fan favourites Everlong, Monkey Wrench and My Hero to the heavy and stripped back versatility of the double disc In Your Honor.
What is the most shocking thing to me about Wasting Light? That this was the first Foo Fighters album to top the United States Billboard 200 chart; seriously, how did it take this long? Grohl is an American legend and the Foo Fighters are flawless.
Wasting Light was an album of reunions. Punk legend and former Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smear returned to the Foo Fighters for the first time since 1997. Celebrated Nevermind producer (and Garbage drummer) Butch Vig also worked with Grohl for the first time since Nirvana. Then, for perhaps the most unlikely (and anticipated reunion), fellow surviving Nirvana member Krist Novoselic contributed bass and accordion on I Should Have Known.
As well as a time for reunions, Wasting Light was a time for back-to-basics, recorded entirely on an analoge tape in Grohl’s California home, creating its honest, garage rock sound and representing a full circle from the early days of Grohl’s one-man efforts in recording the band’s debut album in 1994.
Wasting Light kicks off with in typical Foo Fighters fashion, with an absolute belter of an opening track (i.e., All My Life on One By One, The Pretender on Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, Something From Nothing on Sonic Highways). Bridges Burning sets the scene with its pumping bass line, aggressive guitar work and Grohl’s signature, opening scream of “these are my famous last woooooords”.
The album then continues into another prime example of what the Foo Fighters do better than anyone else in the world, stay true enough to what they were in the beginning to maintain its fan base, while maturing enough that people are never bored and even surprised.
This is represented on track three, Dear Rosemary, featuring the rich, baritone vocals of Bob Mould of Husker Du, for a more mid-tempo track full of beautiful melodies and back and forth poetic lyricism “truth ain’t gonna change the way you lie/youth ain’t gonna change the way you die.”
Listeners are then launched back into those early days with White Limo, a Weenie Beenie-esque heavily distorted fast and loud track White Limo, which demonstrates Grohl’s superhuman screaming skills and why Taylor Hawkins’ drumming impressed the literal former drummer of Nirvana to invite him to join his band, sheesh, goosebumps.
Wasting Light appropriately ends on Walk, a song full of hope for what is to come and with follow-on albums after Wasting Light comprising of Sonic Highways and Concrete and Gold, it was damn well right; Grohl and the Fooeys can do no wrong.