Wasting Light by Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl's unwavering success with the Foo Fighters can be compared to Clint Eastwood's award-riddled second career as a director: as a side effect of becoming mythic figures during their own lifetimes–though perhaps in Grohl's case more becoming "associated" with a mythic figure–they have been indulged in their vain "me-projects" to the tune of millions upon millions of dollars, but, and this may only be a wild prediction, both artists will probably be remembered for their contributions to other people's projects: Grohl for drumming for Nirvana and on the Queens of the Stone Age's seminal Songs for the Deaf album, Clint Eastwood for Sergio Leone's Man With No Name series.
Many songs on the Foo Fighters' seventh studio album, Wasting Light, strongly suggest that the time Grohl has spent in the company of his QOTSA and Them Crooked Vultures bandmate Josh Homme has been formative: while the trademark sunshiny metal riffs, pop-punk influences, pummeling muscle drums and bare-chested man-vocals are all present as usual, the group have worked some very self-consciously weird and stoner metal-ish touches into the brew. "Bridge Burning" is bogged down by some weak screaming, silly pinch harmonics, bursts of fret noise and a weak chorus strongly invoking QOTSA, even down to Grohl's vocal stylings; the same can be said of album highlight "Rope" (released as a single last month) which reverts back to a late 90s/early 2000s Foo Fighters for its choruses. "Dear Rosemary," "Walk" and "A Matter of Time" are pure formula but not completely horrible.
"White Limo" (an eternal image of classiness, undoubtedly) on the other hand is: it's never clear whether this is a cheeky parody of heavy metal or some kind of very weak attempt at paying homage to the genre; Grohl's vocals strongly invoke an eight year old hopped up on pop rocks. Despite its 70s Hard Rock-ing intro "Arlandria" sounds a bit like it was created by a computer programmed to produce Pixiesesque music: all of the tropes are rehashed without any of the excitement, a lazy old expert mimic doing his seventeen hundreth performance. Most of these songs are inexcusably long, the choice to drag them out, clearly a ploy for prog-rock respectability–either that or an apology for a dearth of musical ideas.
"These Days" is constructed around the first thing a twelve year old learns on acoustic guitar played by an eight year old–perhaps the same eight year old singing on "White Limo," finished with his pop rocks, now sitting on the porch smoking incense with his friends because they think it's a drug). (Unintentionally) taking its cues from "Just What I Needed," "Back & Forth" is another cookie cutter track but a little more boring than the others. "Miss the Misery" is all guns blazing hard rockified and so on and so forth, with all the harmonies you like, wah-wah pedals and a larval, underdeveloped melody, and why does one of the best drummers in the history of rock like Taylor Hawkins so much? "I Should Have Known" is a breath of fresh air after a lot of dreck: a familiar sounding track, but helped along by a tasteful string arrangement and endearingly tone-deaf vocal.