Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light

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I’m just going to be 100% honest with you; I hate when bands go down the same old road their entire careers. There’s nothing worse than a band that had a hit or some modicum of success and decide they need to try and recreate that every time they record an album. Thankfully, there are still some honest bands and Foo Fighters are definitely one of them. Wasting Light took me completely by surprise. Unlike their other grungy efforts, there is a fair bit of what could be called “prog rock” on this album. I thought that kind of sound was left to bands like The Mars Volta or their forefathers King Crimson.

It’s not whole songs, like say “21st Century Schizoid Man”, where it’s a prog epic, but the intro riff of songs like “Rope” and even the drum break down, have a hint of that progressive flavor. “Rope” in particular takes it an extra step as the decidedly odd time signature isn’t masked at all. Some bands will write a song in 2/3 time and cover it up because, to be honest it does sound different and jarring. You’re used to hearing a basic 4/4 or 3/4 and anything else takes you out of your comfort zone and you will start to not like it. Dave and the boys, at least for this album, have given the time tested middle finger to what they should sound like. The album is, if nothing else, uncompromisingly honest – which is all we ask for in our rock heroes.

Some of my fellow critics have been putting this album through a ringer. The esteemed Dave “Homer” Simpson of The Guardian made a point of talking about how contrived the album sounds in spots, notably the choruses, being too poppy for his liking. Last time I checked, the Foo Fighters have always had a distinct pop aspect to their music. To criticize a Foo Fighters song for having a poppy or sing along chorus is nothing short of stupid. That’s why I like “Hero,” that’s why I like “Break Out,” and that’s why I like “Big Me.” Dave Grohl is a master of writing great choruses. “Bridges Burning” is a song I suspect he had a problem with as it had a chorus that was a slight contrast from the verse that had razor sharp and precise guitar riffing give way to a much more classic kind of chorus.

Another guy from The Independent painted the album in this one broad stroke…he called it “boring.” I certainly can’t agree with that. Don’t get me wrong, the album is not a reinvention of the Foo Fighters’ sound. Dave Grohl has expanded their sound, while retaining the pop presence and power that made Foo the rock heavyweights they are. It’s hard to characterize anything on this album as boring. Of course you have your poppy choruses cementing their familiar sound, but you also get a hint of “that’s not what I’d expect from them.” That is exactly what I expect from great bands.

As always though, I encourage you to get the album yourself and not take the words of people such as myself too seriously. I only hope to give you one perspective on this album, not the perspective.