Clearly, Foo Fighters plan to stick around!
Also known as the The Dave Grohl Band, Foo Fighters released Medicine At Midnight, their 10th studio album today, a year after the band finished the record, which was then shelved because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Foo Fighters, founded by Grohl in 1994 after his previous band Nirvana came to an unceremonious close when singer Kurt Cobain committed suicide, have, in many respects, far eclipsed any expectations of longevity. More than 25 years later, and now 10 studio albums, Foo Fighters retain a consistent lineup, sell out arenas on every tour and have secured their place in rock and roll history.
As the face of the band, Grohl doesn’t appeal to everyone. He’s overly hyper, screams way too much, dabbles in topics he probably should steer clear of, and on stage brings an addictive personality that both annoys and entertains. By all accounts though, he has surrounded himself with accomplished musicians in drummer Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel on bass, and guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett. Rami Jaffee officially joined the fold on keyboards in 2017 after contributing as a touring member with the band since 2005.
Foo Fighters far exceeds anything Grohl accomplished in the early 1990s and as long as he drops those backing singers he dragged along on the last tour and included on Concrete and Gold, no reason exists, other than infighting, as did occur before the release of One By One but arguably tied the band closer together, as to why Foo Fighters shall remain for quite some time.
Foo Fighters Medicine at Midnight Album Review
It took me a while to appreciate the Foo Fighters craft. I didn’t jump on the bandwagon though the early songs did resonate. Eventually, it seemed as though most albums had a few excellent tracks along with mostly ordinary contributions likely skipped after so many spins, a trend Medicine at Midnight continues as a few gems rise above the rest.
However, the nine-song 36 minute Medicine at Midnight does swallow a different muse for the band, not too far off the beaten path though, as the album entertains their usual fare along with some David Bowie, Motorhead, and a submission for consideration as one of the best Foo Fighters songs. The staying power of the oddities left to the individual listener.
Medicine at Midnight opens with “Making a Fire” offering a groovy melody for the most part but the background choir returns, melting hard rock into some type of kids’ rock. I thought the mini choir was a one and done for the last album and tour but none too surprising considering Grohl referred to the four girls as “members of the band” during their livestream a few months ago in this quick exchange reminiscent of high school flirting. Might want to nip that one in the bud real quick.
The first single released months ago in “Shame Shame” really grows on you. A dynamic song and welcome entry after the opening track. “Cloudspotter” delivers a guitar-driven modern 70s vibe with a definite hook. Catchy and fun, this one keeps it real.
The softer side of Foo Fighters compliments them well, thus the “Top 10 Foo Fighters Songs” list needs updating to now include “Waiting On a War.” Grohl doesn’t scream his way through it, not once, and the easy harmony complimented by a bevy of strings eventually turns into a solid heavier rocker as the band finishes with a melodic bang.
The lyrics emotionally contemplative – but without further explanation – suggest Grohl taking stock, wondering about life, and if his success no longer fills an empty void: “Just a boy with nowhere left to go / Fell in love with a voice on the radio / Is there more to this than that.” The lamenting recalls when Tom Brady said in a 60 Minutes interview,” Why do I still have three super bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me.” Instead, Grohl states the lyrics stemmed from a conversation he had with his daughter which reminded him of his own fears growing up in the Cold Way era.
The title track follows with a very catchy arrangement, moved along by Nate Mendel’s bass, evoking David Bowie, then Foo change gears to a refined Motorhead song but one that actually holds down a distinct melody in “No Son of Mine.” Easy money says Grohl screams all the way through this one when performed live. “Holding Poison” turns a bit gimmicky after a solid start, sounds a bit familiar and invites the choir back for a few measures so feel free to move on. Bowie fully returns for “Chasing Birds” in this straight outta the 60s vibe that might have Foo Fans scratching their heads but the uncanny resemblance is so well done “Chasing Birds” could double as a missing Bowie track. Grohl can’t scream his way through this one!
Leave the second best for last in “Love Dies Young.” Why can’t this band just record songs like this and call it an album? Straight forward rock song, with a vigorous melody and overall executed effectively.
Foo Fighters Medicine at Midnight Track List:
- Making It a Fire
- Shame Shame
- Waiting On a War
- Medicine at Midnight
- No Son of Mine
- Holding Poison
- Chasing Birds
- Love Dies Young