Album Reviews

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light (REVIEW)

What can I say about the Foo Fighters that hasn’t been said already? Let’s just say that Dave Grohl has a very special place in my heart because of his contributions to music (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Tenacious D, Them Crooked Vultures, and Nine Inch Nails to name just a few).

Actually, he has a second place in my heart because of his personality. What an honest and friendly guy. I would know… I had the privilege of meeting him twice: the first time during the music video shoot for “Times Like These” in 2003, and again last month in Los Angeles, which was one of the Foo Fighters’ secret shows. At Spaceland, to be specific.

His honesty shows in his music, and somehow Dave Grohl has made an art of writing alternative pop/rock. There’s such a delicate balance in the Pop world between “brilliant” and “cheesy”. While making that statement, only Weezer and Self come to mind as bands that can write accessible rock music and still maintain their credibility. Much in the way that The Beatles did before them.

But enough blabbering. “Wasting Light” (which isn’t even released in stores for another two weeks) has been posted on the Foo Fighters website for all to hear, and as a fellow Spaceland attendee, this is my second time through these tracks.

“Wasting Light” is very, very good. How good? I would venture to say the best since “The Colour and the Shape” in 1997. I will flat out say that no, it is not better than TCATS ( Seriously: Everlong, My Hero, Monkey Wrench… that will always be the pinnacle of Foo Fighters).

What I LOVE about this record, is that the rocking never stops. Completely recorded to tape, with no computers involved (other than for Twitter updates), “Wasting Light” has a richness not heard from Foo since 1997. The guitars are thick, the drums rich, the bass oozing over everything… it’s magnificent. Once again, Grohl & Co. even manage to make heartfelt, earnest ballad-y tracks still rock your face off.

“Bridge Burning” the first track, is quite an opener. Riff-age all the way. We were teased for weeks with this opening clip on their website. I must say, the rest of the song did not disappoint.

Most of us have heard “White Limo” by now as well. The song sticks out as the sort of “WTF” moment of the record (in comparison to the rest of the tracks). I love it to death, and it shows that Dave hasn’t lost his rock roots. It’s just silly badass-ness at its finest.

The entire record delivers solid rock (yet melodic, and sometimes sensitive) from start to finish. The songs themselves follow that familiar “verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus x2” format for the most part, but the genius is that it’s almost impossible to predict HOW the next part will sound. Maybe that’s the key to his hit-making ability. 

Unless you go to YouTube and watch his actual video about “how to make a hit song”.

So, is it as classic as The Colour and the Shape? I’d say no. Very few records by any artist reach that level of quality and significance. But, it certainly competes for a close second. As a whole, this is ridiculously solid from front to back. Just not as solid as TCATS. 

And can I be technical for a second? Two of their last 3 albums were produced/mastered in a way that I felt ruined the songwriting (One by One was too compressed, and In Your Honor had a certain mid-range harshness). “Wasting Light” is smooth on the ears, but not in that candy-pop snare way.

The album falls in line after the first two tracks… continuously rockin’… and since 1997, I have not heard a Foo Fighters record that can listen to all the way through without feeling the urge to skip ahead. Until “Wasting Light”, that is.

As Dave yowl-fully screams in track 1, “These are my famous last words”… I beg the gods of music to not let this be true. They’re one of the last few true rock bands, and I fear a world where Foo Fighters do not exist. – Clay Lancaster