Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Album cover
Foo Fighters
Wasting Light
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light Review rating:
3
User rating:
Average: 4.7 (6 votes)

Say what you like about the mainstream sensibilities of the man who rose to fame through such alternative rock anthems as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Rape Me,” but there is no denying Foo Fighters rhythm guitarist and vocalist Dave Grohl is one of the hardest working men in modern rock and roll. Perhaps best known as the skinsman for seminal grunge band Nirvana, Grohl has played in a plethora of bands and styles, ranging from hardcore to heavy metal, and collaborated or performed with some of the most respected in rock, working with such greats as Lemmy Kilmister, John Paul Jones, and Paul McCartney, to name a few. Though always involved in many different musical opportunities, one thing has remained consistent since its inception in 1995: Dave Grohl always finds his way back to what has become his primary musical endeavor in the Foo Fighters.

Their seventh full-length, Wasting Light was described by Grohl as the band’s “heaviest album yet.” The quote is somewhat misleading if taken to mean something akin to connotations of weighty riffs being drawn from the book of Tony Iommi. Rather, in spite of, or perhaps due to, his diverse resume of varying styles of rock and roll over the years, “straightforward” seems to be a more appropriate descriptor.

It’s not that Wasting Light is primitive or somehow lacking in the radio-ready songwriting that others from the Foo Fighters’ back catalog have. To the contrary-- all of the traits that make a Foos release are there simply by virtue of Dave Grohl being the preeminent musical and creative force of the band. Compared to more recent outings, however, Wasting Light leans more toward the relative abrasiveness of the band’s ‘90s releases, namely their self-titled album and moments from The Colour and the Shape. However, while those albums had a quirky sense of melodic songwriting, this one replaces that with big, arena-ready hooks, lacking the diversity and nuance married to pop catchiness that have become the band’s trademark.

Indeed, something of a back to basics approach has permeated the entire philosophy of Wasting Light, from eschewing the band’s professional home studio for Grohl’s garage, to recording straight to tape. While locale is certainly something more romantic than it is tangible in terms of the final product, the fact that the recording was entirely analog until post-mastering cannot be understated.

Produced by Butch Vig, the man responsible for the polished sound of the breakthrough album from Grohl’s previous band that was 1991’s Nevermind, Wasting Light sounds sonically fantastic. Even with its robust guitar tone, the album is able to achieve an incredible amount of clarity and separation while maintaining a full body. Playing this release through headphones or on vinyl through a decent stereo setup is a sonic pleasure.

What’s more, Vig is not the only one from Dave’s breakout years to be a part of the album. Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic plays on “I Should Have Known,” while Nirvana and Foo Fighter’s touring guitarist Pat Smear returns as a full-time addition.

Despite comparisons to Exile on Main Street in terms of crafting a timeless album that would “define their identity,” Wasting Light ends up falling short of its recent predecessors. The Foos’ latest is sure to please casual listeners and go over well live; hell, it even contains a few songs that rank amongst their very finest. Unfortunately, for every standout track like "Rope" there is a throwaway one like "White Limo," the sum effect not being enough to save a decidedly middle-of-the-pack rock affair.

1. Bridge Burning
2. Rope
3. Dear Rosemary
4. White Limo
5. Arlandria
6. These Days
7. Back & Forth
8. A Matter of Time
9. Miss the Misery
10. I Should Have Known
11. Walk

Foo Fighters are an American rock band formed by singer/guitarist Dave Grohl in 1995 in Seattle, USA. Grohl formed the group as a one-man project after the dissolution of his previous band Nirvana in 1994. Prior to the release of Foo Fighters in 1995, Grohl drafted Nate Mendel (bass), William Goldsmith (drums) (both of Sunny Day Real Estate and The Fire Theft), and Pat Smear (guitar) to complete the group. Goldsmith left during the recording of the group's second album The Colour And The Shape (1997), soon followed by Smear. ... read more

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