Foo Fighters Tap Into New Realms of Rock N’ Roll With ‘Concrete and Gold’
The Foo Fighters‘ new album has taken everything we know of the band, multiplied it, slapped on some color and added an edge, making it one of the most impressive full-lengths to date. After 2015’s “Saint Cecilia” EP the band had taken an “indefinite hiatus.” Front man Dave Grohl announced this after what he saw was an insufferable amount of rumors spreading regarding the band’s future. Adding gas to the fire, the band released a mockumentary showing Grohl’s departure in pursuit of an EDM career and former 98 Degrees lead singer Nick Lachey taking his place. Nevertheless, the Foo Fighters are as strong as ever, with their new album “Concrete and Gold” to back that up. Set for release on Sept. 15, this legacy inducing LP is one of the most startlingly cohesive works the band has ever produced.
For this go-around, Grohl and company enlisted Greg Kurstin as producer, someone who’s responsible for the indomitable popularity of Adele’s “Hello.” In no other song is Kurstin’s influence more notable than the funk-heavy “Make it Right,” a tune covered in gloss and production value. This, along with “The Sky is a Neighborhood,” are catchy head-bangers which could easily find themselves onto all manner of radio stations nationwide. “Run,” the lead single, is a rough-and-tumble rock anthem filled with screams. Ferocious and hard-hitting, with tempo changes galore, “Run” creates feelings of prog-rock and metal all at once. After all, Grohl did say he wanted this album to sound like “Motörhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper.” There are a few moments of definitive proof of this throughout; the bass laden “La Dee Da” links Grohl’s expertly crafted scream-o skills with mosh-worthy guitar licks while “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)” is a clear homage to The Beatles’ happy-go-lucky era in the late 60’s.
In an open letter to fans announcing the new album, Grohl lent hilariously descriptive notes about the project like it’ll have “more twists and turns than a live senate hearing” and that it’s sure to “fry stereos from here to Fukuoka.” He also managed to compare “Concrete and Gold” to a box of “loud chocolates.” The humor never seizes with this guy. Even during the politically charged lead-off tune “T Shirt” where he quaintly describes what he calls the “gross ambition for power” that he witnessed following inauguration night, has a tinge of humor. “I don’t want to be queen,” he reminds himself, “I just want to keep my t-shirt clean.”
Humor aside, sincerity is all over this record. “The Line,” another political anthem, describes the fight for truth in an increasingly insincere world; “We fight for our lives/’Cause everything’s on the line/This time.” It seems every artist of the past year has touched on this topic. The Foo Fighter’s version is particularly emotive, though their soaring progressions always are. “What is truth” he asks rhetorically, “But a dirty black cloud coming out of the blue.”
What is it that makes the Foo Fighters one of the best all-American rock bands our country has ever seen? Perhaps it’s their tenaciousness, mixed with an ever-loving front man. Just look at Grohl’s 2015 performance where the singer had a custom throne built to support his leg cast after he broke it falling off a stage. Even doctor’s orders wouldn’t stop this guy from rocking. This is why the Foo Fighters can do no wrong. Not only do their fans adore them unconditionally, but their music over the years has been so consistent that it’s hard to find fault. And this album is another one in a long line of shatter-proof rock from Grohl and his band of misfits.
“Concrete and Gold” is available Sept. 15 on Apple Music.