This review originally appeared in The Penmen Press on September 27, 2017
The first CD I ever purchased with my own money was Foo Fighters’ Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace. I was ten years old, and it was my first experience with music I could call my own, separate from the music my parents liked. A decade and three albums later, I’ve fallen out of grace with the band. Concrete and Gold, their latest, is packed full of passable arena-ready songs and is virtually indistinguishable from their previous album.
The album starts out well enough, with the one-two punch of “T-Shirt” and “Run.” The former starts with finger-picked guitar and somber vocals before a big gospel-fused refrain, complete with church organ.
This then bleeds seamlessly into the intensity of “Run.” Singer Dave Grohl brings intense post-hardcore vocals over a two-note guitar riff that cuts the fat and gets to the point. This is juxtaposed by one of the best choruses the band has written in years. The interesting choice of album producer Greg Kurstin, known for Sia’s “Chandelier” and Adele’s “Hello,” brings a clarity and voice to this headbanger.
This bright spot is one of very few on this album.
Directly following this is “Make It Right,” a southern-flavored boogie-rocker a-la Aerosmith or ZZ Top. The two-bar riff repeats itself near endlessly over lyrics about a train to nowhere until the song seemingly lands at the train’s destination.
“The Sky Is A Neighborhood” is able to grab listeners’ attention with its unique choice to make the most of the room’s acoustics in the song’s verses. Any momentum gained is quickly lost by its chorus that sounds written to be played over a TV spot of highlights promoting this week’s NFL game.
If one were to put this album up next to my childhood favorite, they might not notice much difference, but therein lies the problem. In a decade the band has shown that they aren’t looking to grow or change, just put out a new set of songs to tour arenas with.
Concrete and Gold is fine, but I’ve had to accept that Foo Fighters are making music for dads now. They aren’t making music for me.