Monday, January 30, 2012

Wasting Light by Foo Fighters

Wasting Light by Foo Fighters

Produced by Butch Vig and mixed by Alan Moulder, Wasting Light was recorded entirely on analog tape in the garage of Grohl's home in California's San Fernando Valley. The no computers/no software back to basics approach has resulted in arguably the strongest and most cohesive effort of the band s 15-year-plus career: From first single Rope to the frenetic opener Bridge Burning to the beautifully bipolar These Days to stunning guest spots from Bob Mould ( Dear Rosemary") and Krist Novoselic ("I Should Have Known"), Wasting Light is a singular triumph: a band that's headlined arenas, stadiums and festivals the world over stripping itself down to the bare essentials and coming up with a world class band's finest hour.

Hard to say that this is "the best" Foo Fighters album because, after so many years, bands should really be defined by eras. I would consider the Foos first era ending, and second era beginning, with their double album, In Your Honor. Their "classic" album from that first era is The Colour and The Shape. It is considered, and will continue to be considered, a classic album in the rock genre.

Wasting Light is the best album of the Foos second era and, like TCATS, it will be considered a classic album in the rock genre. There is no track that is unlikeable, just a few that aren't as great as the others.

Highlights of the album are the first two tracks, "Bridge Burning" and "Rope", are the best two songs I've heard to open an album since way back to the first tracks of "Vs." by Pearl Jam, "Go" and "Animal." "Dear Rosemary" is solid, the guitar work sounding a bit like "Steady As She Goes" by the Racounteurs, and a chorus that is all Dave Grohl, even with help from Bob Mould.

Thrashy and well-placed "White Limo" is juxtaposed with the ridiculously catchy "Arlandria" ("you and what army? Arlandria!"). "These Days" is such a great, soaring rock song that it is easy to forget that the lyrics are painfully honest and relate-able on a number of levels. "Back and Forth" is cheesy, but in a catchy, good way, and sounds like something of a homage to any number of late-80's rock tracks with it's chug-chug-chug guitar sound (listen to it, you'll get it).

"A Matter of Time" to me is very Foo-sy, that is to say, it could have been on just about any of their other albums and fit right in. "Miss the Misery" is just...fantastic.

In as much as I love the opening two tracks on the album, I've never heard on any other album closing tracks as good as the deeper, more emotional two tracks that end the album. The album is bookended perfectly. "I Should Have Known" is believed to be about a close friend of Dave Grohl's (not named Cobain) that died of an OD within the last two years. It is a tugging, beautiful song that absolutely soars when his old bandmate Krist Novoselic's bass makes its presence felt about 2/3 through the song.

Closer "Walk" is my favorite in an album full of favorites. Perhaps because I'm in my mid-30s, my perspective on the song is that it sounds exactly like the words of a person who sang "My Way Home" from The Colour and The Shape would 14 years later. Someone who was "not scared, I felt like this on my way home" now has responsibilities and children and a fear of death. "Walk" encapsulates that sort of maturity, wisdom, growth, etc. In typical Dave Grohl fashion, the guy who has the rock star credentials and "rock god" status worldwide does the complete opposite in the very un-rock-and-roll like lyric "I never want to die, I never want to die!" He defies the rock-n-roll persona in his words as much as he personifies it in his music. It is as close to a perfect, uplifting and emotional song as I've ever heard.

Someone else mentioned this, and I totally agree: it has been YEARS since I've heard an album and considered it a "new favorite album." This fits the bill perfectly. Over 20 years of collecting music and more than 1,000 albums, this just instantly sat in with the handful I can listen to anytime, anywhere, and love from start to finish.

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