Though Grohl opens the Foo Fighters seventh highly anticipated garage rock album with a wailing declaration of “These are my famous last words,” he clearly has a lot to say.
Reuniting with Butch Vig to make what Grohl stated was their “heaviest album yet” the Foo Fighters do the near impossible for a band of their long -standing stature; they manage to sound like rookies on the rise again. Perhaps the reunion with Vig added to the illusion, perhaps it was the grittier sound analog recording produced, or maybe just getting out of the studio and into the garage but whatever the case Wasting Light is a time warped capsule of distortion, repressed rage and raw purity tuned to imperfect perfection.
Bridge Burning opens the record with a menacing, repetitive building beat that sets the pace for frenetic garage punk gems to follow. White Limo, Grohl’s filthiest sounding track since his cover of Prince’s Darling Nikki, has him wailing unrecognizably yet it’s instantly identifiable has punk. Scratchy vocals over heavy percussion and relentless guitars are a repetitive theme in a number of the heavy hitting jams such the highly popularized single Rope which proved itself so accessible that even DeadMau5 saw fit remix it for clubbers worldwide. What they may fail to appreciate however, is just how deceptively dark this ‘dance’ song is sprouting lyrics like “Choke! On a kiss, thought I’d save my breath for you Give me some rope I’m coming loose”
What sets them apart from ‘rookies on the rise’ here though is the spectacular song writing displayed on songs such as on These Days. Grohl growls “Easy for you to say! Your heart has never been broken…One of these days you will forget to hope and learn to fear” showcasing a heretofore unexpressed realistic reflections that a band on the rise simply cannot imitate.
Aside from absolutely breaking and exceeding expectations instrumentally, this is indeed their heaviest album yet, but that goes double for emotional baggage or the releasing of it such as Grohl does in the unnervingly personal ballad I Should Have Known which also features former Nirvana band mate Krist Novoselic on bass and accordion. An exercise in rage and melancholia, Grohl exorcizes what was perhaps his biggest demon to date, and with the all ‘subtle’ tip toeing around the subject in the songs leading to it, its no mistake that this track was strategically placed. After years of biting his tongue on the subject Grohl spits blood on this one pulling no punches as he cries out “Though I cannot forgive you yet, no I cannot forgive you yet. You leave my heart in debt.” Novoselic, for his part though vocally silent, adds a haunting wail in backing accordion that is unmistakably one of mourning. An emotional tangle of guilt, anger, and of unquestionable regret I Should Have Known is the sleeper hit of the album.
Out of the darkness of the tunnel that was I Should Have Known Grohl finishes with the thematic Walk. Starting off with a simple guitar and bass line before building to percussion Grohl muses over his past and path stating “I’m learning to walk again. I believe I’ve waited long enough. I’m learning to talk again can’t you see I’ve waited long enough? And after holding all that he expressed in for over ten years I can say, he most definitely waited long enough; but it was a worthwhile wait.
***This is another one of those play-all- the- way- through- CDs, so in case you don’t already have it, presented in its entirety live for your listening pleasure, Wasting Light Live from 606***