Foo Fighters are back on the scene with their ninth studio album poetically titled Concrete And Gold. With the addition of Rami Jaffee, as the official sixth member, the legendary band shows no signs of slowing down and has once again proven that they’ve still got it.
The album starts nice and soft with gentle tones from lead singer Dave Grohl, accompanied by a simple acoustic riff. However, it’s not long before we are thrown into the chaos of the whole band pounding away on their instruments. The chorus is overtaken by heavier tones from Grohl and beautiful background hymns, which then leads into an awesome short solo, and before we known it we are introduced to the first single of the album.
“Run” starts with echoing tones from Grohl as he sings “in another perfect life” leaving a sort of bittersweet feeling. The song is quickly switched up into what I see as a “White Limo” part 2 from the album Wasting Light. We are introduced to the rougher side of Grohl’s voice, which is equally enjoyable to listen to.
It never fails to impress me how he can change from soft to harsh tones so quickly. This track definitely has an anthem feel to it and I believe it will go down as one of their best. The award for most addictive chorus has to go to this one. You’ll have it stuck in your head for days.
Track three “Make It Right” starts with fast hits on the high hat from Taylor Hawkins and an almost sexy guitar riff. “Hop on the train to nowhere” sings Grohl as the country rock song rolls through several clever and feisty lines.
The backing vocals in this song are particularly interesting and Dave Grohl proves that he is not just a brilliant musician, but also a talented singer. I can’t imagine you will be head banging to this one but it’s definitely a refreshing change of pace. It’s worth a listen just for that awesome riff.
We continue on our journey and are met by the second single of the album “The Sky Is A Neighbourhood“. I’m not quite sure what the title means but nonetheless this is a great track. You can hear the passion in Grohl’s voice in this one, more so then the others and paired with the dirty sounds of the electric guitar – it makes it a great modern rock song. After the second verse we can hear the sound of violins and it reminded me of earlier albums from the band like Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace.
Next up is “La Dee Da” which does not sound like anything we’ve heard from the band before. When it started playing, I originally thought it was Queen of the Stone Age or Eagles of Death Metal. It begins with the grungy sound of an electric guitar (reminiscent of the Nirvana days).
This song seems to experiment with synths as you can hear electric sounds in the background. However, the song revolves around the heavy riff. We are met with the screams of Grohl on the chorus and heavy hits on the snare. Once this gets going, it is definitely something you’ll want to dance to.
“Dirty Water” marks the halfway point of the album and is a stark contrast from its predecessors. The song features a really lovely pattern on the guitar, which reminded me of Spanish music. Grohl returns to lullaby like tones and the harmonies are back and better than ever but in true Foo Fighters fashion, it soon moves into loud and perfect melodies paired with pessimistic lyrics like “I’m a natural disaster“.
Track 7 is the weirdly wonderful “Arrows“. The song seems to tell a story and reminded me of “Dear Rosemary”. The highlight of this track is the harsh guitar riff that features after the first chorus. It is short but pivotal to the tone of the song. Once again, I get a sense of passion and almost anger in the vocals. The only fault I could find for this song is that it goes on a bit too long. But none the less a brilliant addition to the album.
We go back to simple and soft acoustic chords with “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)“. Once again this song has a slight country feel to it, most likely taken from Dave Grohl’s roots in Virginia. I love the lighthearted solo in this song and the steady beat of the drum makes you nod along.
There is juxtaposition between the lyrics and the tone of the song. The tone takes on a happy go lucky feel but the lyrics are not quite the same – “There ain’t no superheroes now”. The song eventually fades out quietly and the next song quickly begins.
“Sunday Rain” is an interesting song as it has the constant beat of a heavy grunge guitar but in the background a very reverberated keyboard note plays. It feels quite experimental and one might not know it is Foo Fighters if they heard it on the radio. It’s not one of my favourites but I did specifically like the drumming in this song. Hawkins deliberately went out of his way to jazz up the percussion and use a different method of drumming in this song.
“The Line” plays next and this is an awesome song to be placed at the end of the album. It feels a lot more modern than the other songs but doesn’t stray too far from what we expect from the band. The guitar definitely carries this song and Shiflett proves he is not to be overlooked in the band.
Using high and low parts of the neck simultaneously Shiflett takes us on a journey with his incredible guitar playing. The song seems to take us through dark and serious parts and then throws us into a very upbeat chorus to then return to the darkness.
The last song on the album is the melancholy “Concrete and Gold“. Grohl introduces us with soft and mumbled singing, keeping the pessimistic vibe with his somber lyrics. This song features hauntingly beautiful background noise, reminiscent of the howling wind in the night. The single use of guitar notes is very effective and fitting for the vibe of this song.
Foo fans won’t be disappointed with this album. It doesn’t change too much from the Sonic Highways album. I don’t think every song will be a hit with the fans, but I do believe the ones that are hits, will go down in history as being some of the best the band have made.
Foo Fighters Concrete And Gold is out now on iTunes, purchase it here.
Words by Georgia Hampson
Sunday Rain’s drumming seems different because it is – Paul McCartney lays the groove for this track while Taylor Hawkins is on lead vocals.