Review: Foo Fighters “Wasting Light” (Deluxe)

Dave Grohl’s choice to record Wasting Light in his garage on analog tape I think really helps exemplify a desire to return to the Foo Fighters’ roots, but also to create something that feels a little more rock ‘n roll and less overproduced.  I think that it really is a great way of showing off the exceptional musicianship of the band as well.  Analog tape means no digital editing or fine tuning.  They have to be able to play the music and not mess up.  I think this approach not only works to help give the album a bit of a raw sound but also inspires Grohl and his bandmates (which includes old bandmate Pat Smear in his return to the Foo Fighters) to create something that they can be proud of and I think it shows.

Going into this album, I’d say the Foo Fighters discography has been a bit of a mixed bag.  Their first two albums are still their best.  Over the years, their albums have been full of some really good, if not great, songs but I feel since The  Colour & the Shape, with maybe exception to One by One, they have seemingly played it safe as far as the sound of the band.  Some of their music fits so well into the arena rock genre that it kind of gets lost amongst lesser quality bands.  I think that is one of my issues surrounding the Foo Fighters.  Dave Grohl is one crazy talented mofo and is capable of some really amazing stuff.  I always find myself wanting to hear a darker edge to the band’s sound.  I want some balls to the wall rock album that gets my heart pumping and forces me to yell out the lyrics as I drive down some street in my car.  But perhaps my expectation is not what the band is  or even should be, but I can’t help but want some album that is just full of kickassery.

So how does this new album sound?  I’d say it’s still very much the Foo Fighters but with some pretty inspired songs that I think do show that they can kick ass as a band.  The front half of the album I think is what I like the most and the back half sounding at times like 90s rock.  Whether that suits you or not, well you’ll have to figure that out on your own, but I was fine with it.  The first track, Bridge Burning, is a really good high energy song that gets the blood flowing.  I could definitely see this as an opening act song on tour and, in this case, appropriately kicks off the album.  Rope is the first single off the album and shows them playing around with structure and timing.  The fourth track, White Limo, is the style of song that I think I’d like to see Grohl explore more with the Foo Fighters where they just kind of explore a more raw sound that is just about rocking out and letting those emotions spill out.  These Days is a pretty standard sounding song for the band.  I don’t say that negatively, but if you are a huge fan of the band, I can easily see this song being liked and while it is a good song, it’s not as good as Arlandria or any of the other songs that proceed it on the album.  A Matter of Time and Miss the Misery are solid songs.  I Should Have Known is probably one of the better songs of the back half of the album.  It’s a song that crescendos into a fuller sound as it progresses.

The CD that I purchased was the deluxe edition from Best Buy.  It features two videos and two bonus tracks on a secondary enhanced CD.  The two bonus tracks are pretty much inconsequential.  The first is a Deadmaus remix of Rope, which is kind of interesting, but, for me, relatively pointless as the original track is better.  The second track is Better Off and sounds like it could have been a B-side for The Colour & the Shape.  It’s not a bad song, but it’s not great either.  But I always applaud getting access to tracks that aren’t released with the album normally as you get to see what else the band was trying to do.

Overall, I’d say Wasting Light is a success of an album and easily sits comfortably next to their better albums.  I think the musicianship here on this album has been stepped up and is a step in the right direction of getting that total kickass album I’m still hoping they have in them.  For those of you that are big fans of the band, or just enjoy seeing a behind the scenes glimpse of bands, the Foo Fighters have a new documentary, Back & Forth, that will be released exclusively at Best Buy on June 14th on Blu-ray and DVD.  I saw it a few days ago and found it interesting and definitely helps give you a look at what they’ve been through as a band, good and bad.  So definitely check that out when it gets released.

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