ALBUM: Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Release Date: April 12th, 2011
Label: RCA


Aaaaah, Foo Fighters. It’s nice to have you back. It’s been the best part of four years since their last album, 2007’s ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’, but one rip-roaring listen through the eleven tracks on their seventh studio LP ‘Wasting Light’ will be enough to convince you that it was well worth the wait.

You remember when you were little, and you really needed a pee, and so desperately trying to hold it in you’d cross your legs and awkwardly do the ‘pee dance’? Well, that’s pretty much the best way I can describe the mounting tension of the first thirty seconds of opening track ‘Bridge Burning’, before the unmistakable growl of Dave Grohl crashes in with the line, “These are my famous last words!”. I do hope not Davey, we’ve still got another ten songs to get through after this. The album’s lead single ‘Rope’ follows, and sounds an awful lot like Queens Of The Stone Age, for obvious reasons, and of course that’s no bad thing at all. ‘Dear Rosemary’, with its jaunty guitars and playful drumbeat echo The Raconteurs‘ single ‘Steady As She Goes’, but the band really give you a kick up the arse with fourth track ‘White Limo’. I haven’t got a fucking clue what the lyrics are to this one, but if for some reason you’ve decided you want to repeatedly punch your fridge and need to find a soundtrack for this sharpish, then I’d certainly recommend this.

So after three and a half minutes of knuckle-breaking mayhem, it’s back to the more radio-friendly rock of ‘Arlandria’, although Grohl does find time to scream “Fame, fame go away / Come again another day” at the top of his lungs during the breakdown, and you can almost imagine him kicking a photographer from NME in the face whilst doing so. ‘These Days’, beginning with its simple guitar riff, leading into a catchy-enough verse, before crashing into its chorus of “Easy for you to say / Your heart has never been broken” is classic Foo Fighters, and surely destined to be a single.

A trio of perfectly acceptable songs follow in the shape of ‘Back & Forth’, ‘A Matter Of Time’ and ‘Miss The Misery’, and by now you know exactly what you’re getting. No one quite does loud/quiet/loud like the Foos, but even the most hardcore fan could be forgiven at this point for craving a little variation. Their wishes are duly granted in great style with the epic ‘I Should Have Known’, the addition of a string section complimenting a much more subtle vocal performance by Grohl, and special mention must go to former Nirvana member Krist Novoselic‘s throbbing bassline and drummer Taylor Hawkins, both of whom are on top form here.

Perhaps they should have left it at that then, as closing track ‘Walk’, in following such a belter, seems a little like it’s been tagged on the end of the album as an afterthought. It’s still a decent song, of course, and in fact you’d struggle to find a song here that can be described as anything less than ‘very good’. But, maybe the problem with this album and Foo Fighters in general, is that we’ve come to expect so much from them that their merely ‘very good’ songs, stand-out tracks in the case of most other bands, appear rather forgettable when surrounded by half a dozen absolute corkers.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that if they were occasionally to have a bit of a shocker instead of being consistently top-notch, then we’d all appreciate their brilliance even more. Stop being so good, ya bastards.

Written by Matthew Frederick