Sound — 10
Foo Fighters return to our ears after a break to recharge, tour with their other bands, and get their mojo back for their new album. And we hope they do. 2007's Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace had some great moments, but seemed to go away as quietly as it came. Before that, In Your Honor had fans and critics alike wondering if they'd lost their edge. Their ability to fill a stadium was never in question, but are the stadiums full of people screaming for DOA or Everlong? So, the band decided to go back to basics for new effort Wasting Light. How many times have we heard that? How many times have a band said they feel they've really got in touch with the music this time around, only to disappoint loyal fans expecting a return to the glory days? Can I get an 'Oasis!' anyone? But it seems this time around Foo Fighters have actually gone back to basics for album number seven. Wasting Light was recorded in Dave Grohl's garage (ok, admittedly probably one of the best, most expensively assembled garages ever), and on a 24 track tape mixer, analog, not digital. No auto-tune, no dropping a correction in over a bum note or dropped stick. Just perfect take after perfect take required, how they did it in the old days. Not only that, but Butch 'Nevermind' Vig produced the album, Pat Smear's rejoined, and there was a guest appearance from Grohl's fellow surviving Nirvana legend Krist Novoselic. One thing was for certain leading up to release: If this album was going to suck, at least they gave it a bloody good go. Musically, apart from the nostalgia-inducing return of Pat Smear, not a lot has changed. The Foo Fighters style hasn't really altered either, but from the first note to the last, it feels like there is a greater intensity about the band. Taylor Hawkins is hitting the drums harder, Chris Shiflett and Nate Mendel are playing as well and as loose as they ever have, and Grohl is singing better and screaming like he did when he made the word 'free' mean something altogether more liberating on Monkey Wrench. There is a palpable reality to the sound, maybe it's coincidentally due to the lack of technology to fall back on, or maybe that was the plan all along.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, Dave Grohl has always been adept at constructing stories to weave over his music, and when, at the start of opening track Bridge Burning, he bellows "These are my famous last WOORRDS!!" he gets your attention. With songs like Back And Forth, Rope and A Matter Of Time, he shows he can still produce hooks and choruses that will stay in your head and on the radio. But as well as the radio friendly unit shifters, throughout the album there are moments of Grohl at his throat tearing best, interspersed with him at his most honest, desperate and vulnerable, the latter quite brilliantly and heart tuggingly illustrated on I Should have known. By the time Krist Novoselic is hammering out the overdriven, Been A Son-esque bass, Dave screams the line "Maybe you was right, didn't wanna fight I should have known/Couldn't read the signs, Couldn't see the light, I should have known", you feel Kurt Cobain is there to complete the most longed for of reunions. And it goes on with the refrain "Though I cannot forgive you yet, No I cannot forgive you yet", and you can reach out and touch the sheer desperation. Maybe it's just the presence of Novoselic and Butch Vig, but this is the most haunting, moving and emotional song that Foo Fighters have ever done.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall there isn't a track on this album I'd skip, whether it's the airplay able Back and Forth, Arlandria, These Days, and Rope, or the heavier classic Foos moments like Miss The Misery and Bridge Burning. The band sound revitalised, like a bunch of wide-eyed teenagers releasing their youthfully exuberant debut, and I haven't even mentioned White Limo yet, a bonafide Foo Fighters classic recalling the first album at it's distorted Weenie Beenie best. A real throwback to the days of 'Grunge Ringo' before he built the biggest rock band on the planet. It would have been due to some serious creative neglect, but there was a small risk that the Foos were going to continue to churn out good albums. Just good. No more of The Colour And The Shape or There Is Nothing Left To Lose. Enter Wasting Light, the best album Foo Fighters have produced in over a decade. If this were lost or stolen I'd buy it again, then lose it just to buy it once more. This time they have let rip, thrown the kitchen sink at it, given it absolutely everything. And not by spending millions on studios, assembling choirs and orchestral backing, but by getting the drummer from garbage in.