Thursday, 19 April 2012

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light [CD REVIEW]

THE LATEST ALBUM FROM THE FOOS
HAS SEVERAL CRACKING TRACKS - 
BUT IS LET DOWN BY TRULY TEDIOUS LYRICS AND A RELIANCE ON THE "STADIUM SOUND"



What's It All About Then?
This album by the Foo Fighters, released in April 2011 (yes, I'm only a year late) was one of the Foos most commercially successful - with the singles Walk (above) and Rope (below) debuting at the top of the charts. 


The album has since given the Foos 4 Grammy Awards, including "Best Rock Album", several nominations for "Album of The Year", and indeed was named "Best Album of 2011" by iTunes.


The album is described by frontman, Dave Grohl, as a hark back to their earlier works - being much more brash and raw than recent albums. To complement this sound, the band decided to record the album using analogue equipment - no fancy digital mixers and software - so that this youthful, fierce energy could really come through. As such, the band members and recording technicians had to relearn old techniques for capturing tracks in this way - and had to spend several weeks rehearsing to ensure the recordings sounded how they had hoped.



So Is It Any Good?
+++ Kick-Ass Vibrancy +++
The majority of the album is filled with the big, rocky numbers we have come to expect from the Foo Fighters - plenty of distorted riffs cutting through Grohl's gruff singing with pacey percussion to back it up.

The album is definitely more rock than some previous Foo albums have been - there was a period about 5 years ago when it seemed they had given up and decided to stick to pop tracks - but these are tracks are much more high-intensity and "in-your-face". A welcome change.

The album manages to have a good pace to it as well - a few big numbers to start, then a couple of slightly down-tempo middle tracks before raising the volume and the tempo again at the album's close.

Particular credit goes to the album's singles - Walk, Rope and These Days (below) - for being suitably heavy rather than "watering-down" their sound too much for radio release. They aren't the best Foo tracks you've heard - but you won't complain too much when you get them stuck in your head.

+++ Instru-mentality +++
The music throughout is top notch - clever riffs and well-chosen percussion to keep the energy pounding out of the speakers throughout.


The guitar and drums really do a good job keeping the album feeling fresh - while there's nothing here that you haven't heard before they are still some of the catchiest you'll hear on the radio at the moment.

When combined with the recording choice - to forego digital helpers to lay the tracks down - then this is quite an achievement. When played through some big speakers the experience is quite something - big, bone-shaking, head-throbbing belters.

It's good to see that the guys have not given up on creating kick-ass rock music - something that I thought was coming during that Long Road To Ruin-phase... and let us never speak of it again.



--- Fairytale Cliche ---
Sadly, while the band's hope of creating an album which sounds like their very early works - they seem to have decided to thrown in "schoolboy" lyrics to pad the songs out.


Aside from the singles - which are excused only slightly because they are clearly written to be performed in front of 10,000-strong audiences who have difficulty remembering more than 4 words per chorus - the rest of the lyrics are mind-numbingly awful. 


Literally every other track has a cliche to start, a cliche for a chorus and some extra cliches thrown in for good measure during the verses. Below, I have chosen 3 songs AT RANDOM and posted a couple of lines below. You can do this with any song - it's like there isn't a scrap of originality in the majority of the lyrics.



These are my famous last words
My number's up - bridges all burned.

Once upon a time I was somebody else
In another life I saw myself
Way back then, back when I was new.


You're one to talk -  the heart is a clock
Just like a bomb it keeps on ticking away
Counting down to detonate.



I mean, COME ON?!?

Even back in the very early days, the Foos didn't write tripe like this! I understand that this is a reflective album, with the theme looking over their childhoods, lives and forward to the future - but that should allow for some creative references.

In one track, Arlandria (below), Grohl is clearly harking back to his childhood with nursery rhyme-style wordplays - but this sliver of creative flair is buried beneath the rest of the lazy and badly-executed lyrics.

I'm not saying that any of the tracks are too awful to listen to - in fact the whole album is great for a playthrough - but it's never going to be one of my favourite rock albums, nor my favourite Foos album for this reason alone.

As mentioned above, I think the band were trying to balance "kick-ass rock" with "stadium/festival appeal" and ended up with brilliant music but limp, cliched lyrics. Such a shame...


Conclusions
THE ALBUM IS GOOD -
EACH TRACK IS WORTH A LISTEN AND THE SINGLES HAVE BEEN IN MY HEAD FOR WEEKS NOW.

SADLY, WASTING LIGHT IS NEVER GOING TO BE MORE THAN A QUICK LISTEN FOR ME BECAUSE THE BLAND, TIRED LYRICS ARE MUCH TOO UNAPPEALING.

I WOULD BE GLAD TO HEAR THESE TRACKS AT A FESTIVAL - AS I THINK THE BAND INTENDED - BUT THE CD WILL NOW GO BACK ON MY SHELF... AND STAY THERE.



Feel free to post comments or contributions to improve the experience!
Any videos in this review are from Youtube and are subject to relevant copyrights. They are kindly provided by: http://www.youtube.com/user/foofightersVEVO
http://www.youtube.com/user/linkinpuunk

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget