Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

width=300Yow!

– Dave Grohl, on Rope

The Foo Fighters have unfortunately become the Bon Jovi of the post-grunge era, but even Jon has written better songs with nothing left to prove. – Andy Whorehall

Dave Grohl is one of rock n’ roll’s nice guys, and a phenomenal drummer.  His band’s latest offering tries to capture that golden 90s youthful feeling by working with producer, Butch Vig (Nevermind), and idols, Lemmy (Motorhead) and Bob Mould (Husker Dü). Josh Homme and Krist Novoselic make appearances as well- but it doesn’t matter. Even an old band mate, Pat Smear, is back in the fold too but. The performance efforts by all are honorable on Wasting Light but there’s something missing. Conviction.

The songs are terrible despite Grohl’s intents, he should stay behind a drum kit.  His lyrics are pedestrian explorations of a very successful man who’s looking, seeking, emotional depth:

Somewhere down the line I started to slip / Years gone by, biting my lip / All the while, all this time I knew / Now your on your own, one for the pages / Over the hill and through the ages / Does my heaven burn like hell on you? / Out beneath the cracks and coming in waves / Rolling like an earthquake under the pavement / Heavy now, tell me Mr.Truth.

I never believe him, or in his ability to write; and that’s my problem with another Foo Fighters record.

They’ve never returned to the conviction I feel listening to the first 2 records and I don’t expect them too. Many moments on ‘Light’ are loud for no reason other than to just be loud. Yelling yow repeatedly becomes funny as Grohl does on Rope.  What’s sad is that there’s a beautiful all-too-quick memorable melody tucked into the lines of when you go I come loose. Much of ‘Light is like this, sacrificing taste for yelling and rock band/air guitar motions.

Dear Rosemary is a terrible waste of Bob Mould’s vocal; and These Days attempts to be decent but ends up in another terribly, predictable chorus where Grohl yells to yell again.  White Limo with Lemmy in tow is loud just to be loud again, as is most of the record. The production is highly compressed and (forgive me Foo Fans, he’s such a nice man, I know) fucking annoying.

The Foo Fighters Wasting Light is an annoying fat, loud, bloated rock record that wants to show you its heart but can’t because they ate too. All that’s left to share is poorly digested, formulaic rock shit. It hurts my own feelings, as well as those of many Foo Fans’ Feelings, to feel this way about a really nice guy like Grohl who wants to be an artist so bad that he feels like he has something to prove still. I don’t believe his lyrical despair tucked between the glossy Vig 90s sheen this record has. Analog or digital, it doesn’t matter which recording process is used; some of the best rock songs produced in the last 20 years have been recorded on boom boxes (Guided By Voices!). The Foos have been marketing this record as a return to analog, recording it in their garage, and blah-blah-blah.  Process and emotional conviction are two separate artistic elements at odds with each other on ‘Light’. Much of Wasting Light, as is the majority of the Foos catalog, suffers from a lack of emotional and artistic conviction. Which is really hard to admit again because Grohl is such a nice, funny guy!

This one will tease you into being interested by staring at the cover at your local record store, but stay away. Do not touch it, love it, fuck it, anything; not even a one-nighter, just run. The Foo Fighters have unfortunately become the Bon Jovi of the post-grunge era, but even Jon has written better songs with nothing left to prove.

AW

Foo Fighters - Wasting LightAndy Whorehall
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27 comments on "Foo Fighters – Wasting Light"

  1. Thank you for an honest review. This album is doing nothing for me, but all my friends are swooning over it right now. I thought I was going crazy.

  2. I have tried, repeatedly, to understand their fans' affection for such boring, bloated songs. I really do not get it; and I keep trying because Dave Grohl really is a nice funny guy. His beard is pretty cool too.

  3. For me, Dave Grohl's greatest musical achievement was his drumming on QOTSA Songs for the Deaf. Your review of this record and his entire songwriting career is almost dead on, and I really don't give a shit how nice and simple he appears to be. He sometimes briefly does remind us he has the capability to make hooks so good that his lyrics (awful with a capital dick in the mouth) are not so important for a few moments. Those moments are almost always in an intro or verse in his songs. Then he screams and it's all predictable as can be from there. I'd argue that while he has always struggled to write good choruses into his songs, he has pretty much given up on trying by now and just defaults to this "I don't need a melody, I am just gonna ramp up the intensity by screaming."
    I sat through like 30 mins of some awful documentary about the making of this record, and it was easy to see the whole concept of this album never really came alive. The idea of recording in a garage and on tape and "going back to our roots, maan" was forced. When the time came to write the songs, Grohl failed to write anything inspiring. Typical and predictable.

  4. I'm sure Mark would totally disagree with this review but I'm not gonna put words in his mouth. I haven't heard anything else off this record besides the track you posted and while the "Yow!'" s are kinda lame, I hear some good intentions in the song. I'll give it a shot.

  5. Those who can't write become critics.

  6. I love the record and recently bought it on vinyl from Toad Hall. It sounds great. agree to disagree Andy.

  7. I don't completely agree or disagree with you here. I am enjoying the record to an extent, but I can't deny the validity of some of your points. For all the talk of this record being recorded in a garage on analog, it really just sounds like every other FF record after the first two. The songs are not knockouts, but they grew on me after a few listens. I have a hard time not liking DG because of my musical roots–and because of his attitude–but sometimes they don't sound all that different than Nickleback. Oh well. I'll keep trying.

  8. Nickelback comparison is way too close to being valid. I also have a hard time not liking Grohl, but as hard as it may be…I was pushed over a certain edge during the 30 mins or so of the documentary about the making of this album that I consumed. Probably 10 minutes dedicated to how poor POOR Dave Grohl had to sit through media sessions and answer questions about Nirvana the entire time his new band toured the country for their first record. They should still be asking him about that, it's by far the most interesting thing he ever had his name associated with.

    • Yow! Agree, and then some.I feel his work on 'Them Crooked Vultures' is the best thing he's done in a very long time. I appreciate his desires to be anything he wants to be as an artist and a drummer when he so feels like it. I do think he should stand clear of writing more rock songs for quite awhile. His formula is waning.

      The documentary shows a brief synopsis of his writing methods: venture to the kitchen or maybe to the pool to swim with the kids, scribble something down, now sing it. I know there's more to it than that but the editing on the documentary sadly made it appear as if this particular record's songs were done in this aloof manner. Few can get away with writing on the fly- he can not. I'll agree with the drummer, Hawkins, who mentioned and I'm paraphrasing this to bits- 'we shouldn't have released that documentary.' Marketing 101 at its finest.

  9. Plus, I want Nate Mendel to be working on the Sunny Day Real Estate (3rd) comeback album that was supposed to happen. I saw them play a new song and say they were going to have a new album almost 2 years ago!

  10. This is the only negative review ive found. Shit, even the hipster crowd is applauding this record, for the most part, but you cant expect too much from them.

    I disagree with the entire review btw, and i consider myself an indie music fan myself.

    Oh yeah…. he says "choke"…. not "yow"

    • You intentionally went looking for 1 negative review on Foo Foo Fighters newest record and you found this link? You're upset because we don't agree with everyone else? Who's everyone else? Prove your point- did you? "even the hipster crowd is applauding this record…" Where? Lastly, thanks for stopping by and reading but it's fair to say this is one of the worst releases of 2011.
      Brian

  11. Didnt wanna ruin the parade here considering most of your "review" banked on that "yow."

  12. This review is a load of bull $hit.

  13. Well I agree with this review. And when I first listened to this record, I really thought it was utter $hit. (With the dollar sign, because the FF have turned pretty much into a corporate band) I never thought I would find someone with the same opinion as me, and I’m very glad I did.
    So Grohl is still carrying the Nirvana fame with him, and now, with the new 2000’s generation Z, the new marketing technique is “Hey, we’re recording analog! We are old school! If you listen to us, you’ll be ‘indie’!” Big f*cking deal. Bands record analog ALL THE TIME. It shouldn’t be a marketing phrase.
    I think the Foo’s fans are ultimately blinded by the words of the poor, poor Dave Grohl. Poor indeed, because, sure, he lost a band mate and friend, Cobain (May he R.I.P) but the one that suffered the most is obviously Novoselic, and he didn’t go around telling everyone about the awful experience and once again, marketing it to sell.
    Highly disliked this, and how everyone thinks that Grohl is a f*cking hero, when he has done nothing new.

  14. Foo Fighters are so generic and lame. They made one decent song and that was Everlong. Otherwise all their songs sound just the same just like Red hot chili crap.

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