By Nate Calvis, Contributor
[Roswell / RCA; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Run”, “The Sky is a Neighborhood”, “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)”
Nowadays, it’s hard not to hear about the Foo Fighters. They are involved in a lot of projects, and they are very consistent with their releases, making them a staple figure for all bands with a “go-getter” attitude. Making their debut in 1995 with their self-titled release, the alt-rock scene took the world by storm. Success after success led them to fill stadiums full of fans and simultaneously grow the “Foo Army”. Many bands similar to the Foo Fighters, would rack up one or two hits and have a falling out, but Dave Grohl and the rest of the band keep releasing quality content which fuels their existence and allows them to release their 9th studio album, Concrete and Gold.
The entirety of the album is pretty standard for the band, nonetheless, it’s what they’re good at. C&G releases 12 crushing songs that are more head-banging than any of their previous releases. Regardless of its standard Foo Fighters structure, the album brings enough new elements to keep die-hard fans interested. The album features Greg Kurstin of the bird and the bee handling production to add a twist of pop into the mix, as his expertise sweetens up a large portion of the hard-hitting songs on the album. Kurstin’s hi-hats, synths, and piano do a phenomenal job of introducing something new into the Foo Fighter’s library. C&G features artists from genres outside of the rock atmosphere to many different vibes to the album’s sound. Justin Timberlake sings backup vocals in the song “La Dee Da”, Paul McCartney plays drums on “Sunday Rain”, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men harmonizes with Grohl on “Concrete and Gold” and even Alison Mosshart from The Kills guests on “The Sky is a Neighborhood”. All of these different special guests bring a taste of their expertise to the new album that will most definitely leave listeners on their toes for the next 48 minutes.
The album begins with “T-Shirt”, a humble beginning to the 12-song entourage, that starts with soft acoustic tunes and makes a shattering full band entrance to bring the house down. This intro brings the album to life in the first 30 seconds, which can be really hard to do. “Run” follows the intro and shows the Foo Fighter fanbase that Dave Grohl has not lost his edge, with his frantic screams (similar to “White Limo” from their 2011 release, Wasting Light) and the fast tempo ensemble that will have listeners head-banging almost immediately. The chorus to the song is easy to follow and will most definitely imprint itself in your head for the next few days. C&G’s third song appears with a guitar riff that shows hints of country remnants but is immediately subsided when drums enter the scene and Grohl’s voice takes the reigns into a rocky direction by singing “Hop on a train to nowhere, baby!” The album’s fourth song, “The Sky is a Neighborhood”, begins slowly and speeds its tempo as the chorus enters that makes it out to be oddly one of the catchiest songs on the album.
An indie rock vibe starts to show in the chorus of “La Dee Da”, which brings another accompanying element to C&G that fans have never seen before. “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)” is very different for the Foo Fighters as a band as it portrays itself as a meaningful ballad, which is different to Grohl’s other slow songs that are simple – and frankly boring at times. An incredible feat made by the band was how it turned out as such a seemingly effortless masterpiece. Just because of style points, “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)” could be the best song on the album.
Over twenty years have passed since Grohl made his appearance on the rock scene with a band post-Nirvana, and the genre has seen very few idols as influential as Dave himself. The world recognizes the Foo Fighters and the talent they’re bringing to the table, but it feels like everyone is waiting for them to release something completely off the grid. Until then, we will be waiting for that day.