Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

written by: April 27, 2011
Album art Foo Fighters Wasting Light Release Date: April 12, 2011


Few bands have been so honored as to have Helen Mirren forget their name. The flabergasted look on Dave Grohl’s face as SNL’s closing credits rolled made the episode in which Foo Fighters premiered two songs from their latest album, Wasting Light. The gum-chewing, bearded Grohl is one of few hailed as a real living rock legend.

Like something crawling out of the sea of the 1990s, the band carries on; somehow, doing the same thing they do every time—sweaty, hard arena rock.

Maybe because they refuse to subgenretize, their success hasn’t ceased across time. And yet Wasting Light is a return to form, reminiscent of simpler days. Examine the circumstances and it’s no wonder the album is already being compared to The Color and the Shape.

Recorded entirely on tape without digital aid, Wasting Light marks the return of the illustrious Pat Smear who throws his hat in on the gaudy, “Rope,” a track that will  have teenagers everywhere checking online guitar tabs. Smear’s most visible hand in the album comes in its virtuosic metal dabbling. “White Limo,” with its straight eighth-note savagery might have been considered too ambitious for Smear-less albums.

Grinding guitars, sure. Thick, effusive choruses, yeah. The album delights, but never sizzles, “Rosemary” is the sort of “Steady As She Goes” descending bass line without an earworm hook and the chorus seems half-baked. Grohl is such a seasoned veteran he probably dreams in Foo melodies. Maybe, just maybe it’s a little too easy for him. One of the most endearing qualities of his voice is that  no matter how bat shit crazy he goes on a melody, it feels like he’s on your side.

The Wasting Light’s lyricism is typical Foos, occasional flashes of wrath, but otherwise it’s like being home and knowing where to find everything; it may be familiar, but you don’t have to worry about it.

“Alandria” has shades of Nirvana’s languorous fury when Grohl screams, “Fame, fame go away. Come again some other day,” over rollicking buzz-saw guitars. Nirvana’s original bassist Krist Novoselic actually hops on the album, which was produced by Nevermind’s Butch Vig.

Just as it’s hard to find a consistent strength of Wasting Light, it’s also hard to find a weakness. The album is the unadulterated passion of Foo Fighters blaring through whatever skeptical critics may hurl. The analog production makes it seem more storied, like the grain of a film photograph. It may be a trite relic but it sure sounds cool.

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light Tracklist:

  1. “Bridge Burning”
  2. “Rope”
  3. “Dear Rosemary”
  4. “Alandria”
  5. “These Days”
  6. “Back & Forth”
  7. “A Matter of Time”
  8. “Miss the Misery”
  9. “I should Have Known”
  10. “Walk”