I haven't had time to do this in quite a while, so I'm going to give it a shot while my steak is marinating in the fridge.
The Foo Fighters. I love their first two albums a lot, but each subsequent release has gone downhill. Not that there aren't killer songs on each album--just that there are fewer each time. Probot was a great detour for Dave Grohl and had hoped he would have packed up the Foos Ball Table at that point for good and continued the heavier streak, but it didn't happen.
An odd thing happened after that actually. They put out a double album--one disc hard, and one soft. I loved the soft one, but hated the hard one. Go figure. I didn't buy whatever came after that because all of their hard rock songs had continued bleeding together into one generic mess of recycled bland lyrics.
So now we've got this Wasting Light disc, recorded totally analog from what I understand. It comes out tomorrow and is streaming on their website. I will disclose that I have heard 4.5 songs from this album already. I liked the one full track I heard, liked the half of the one that I heard the half of, liked most of another, and was not so impressed with the other two. Let's see if statistics get even more less articulate as I press play.
"Bridge Burning" - This is the half-song I heard months ago when they first teased the album. The intro is quick kick ass. The verses remind me of a combination of the verses from "All My Life" and an awesome old FF tune called "Winnebago." They sound good and build a lot tension (or that might be the fact that there's no fucking pause button which is giving me extreme anxiety). Unfortunately they build to a boring chorus. No wait, it was just a boring pre-chorus. The real chorus is not amazing, but at least it's not as bad as the "Whatever keeps you warm..." part. Then it starts over. Ok, the real chorus is growing on me thanks to all the harmonies. By the end of the song, I'm whistling the damn chorus. Good job.
"Rope" - Here's the one I've heard a lot on the radio. My first impression of this was "Great song--terrible chorus." This chorus has NOT grown on me. I still hate it. The lyrics feel generic and tacked on. I loved Dave Grohl's nonsensical lyrics and rhymes from the debut album, but once he started trying to communicate a message, I felt that it often felt bland and forced. It's a shame because the rest of the song is really awesome. From now on, whenever the Foo Fighters blow a chorus in an otherwise good song, it will be known as Wasting Light.
"Dear Rosemary" - This song is special to me because I plan to name my first daughter Rosemary. Rosemary Parmesan. This track is all right. The hook (the beginning guitar lick and subsequent vocal melody) sounds very familiar, but I can't place it yet. In fact, I refuse to go on with this review until I figure out what the hook reminds me of.
All right, I've got it. It's actually two songs. Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want To Be With You" and Oasis' "Acquiesce." Now I can eat my steak...
Other parts of the songs sound like Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him?", Tub Ring's "No One Wants to Play" and the "Got away/got away/got away..." part reminds me of another song that I'm not going to waste any more time trying to figure out. Someone is singing backup vocals. The whole song is catchy, but mostly because it makes me think of 15 other songs.
"White Limo" - This is another one I've heard and like. I actually heard it on WSOU, a metal radio station, most likely because of all the screaming vocals, which sounds pretty awesome. The vocals remind of "Watershed" from the debut album. The music is more straightforward and steady though. Not bad necessarily. The chorus is pretty safe (and again, catchy), but at least there's a blood curdling howl later on.
"Arlandria" - Some crappy generic rhymes in the beginning and a vaguely familiar 4-chord progression that builds to a couple more parts with some more crappy lyrics and more vaguely familiar progressions. Every time I hear these progressions I can't figure out if they're from a song I've heard, or if I've used them before myself. That's not good. Familiar IS NOT good. I need to be surprised to be impressed. Anyway, the production and recording here is still top notch. Surprising and impressive.
"These Days" - Great verses. Very pretty. But then another chorus that I'm just not crazy about. The arrangement is pretty stereotypical Foo Fighters. That's not good.
"Back & Forth" - The opening melody could be addressed in this post. It gets less predictable after a bit at least, but once again, the chorus Wastes Light. "Back & Forth," "Now & Then," "Down & Out." These phrases all appear in the chorus. I feel like these aren't in there to ironically exploit cliche phrase--I think Dave's just running out of shit to say.
"A Matter of Time" - Fun guitar play and vocals here. I think this is the first time I was really reminded that there are three guitarists in the band now. In fact, the awesome 3-guitar spread over the stereo spectrum here is making me completely ignore the lyrics, which probably suck. This track is probably a throwaway, but I think I mostly liked it.
"Miss the Misery" - The guitar reminds me of early Pearl Jam. It's a Leslie cabinet, I guess? I think this one will be mostly unmemorable, but I still can't say anything bad about it.
"I Should Have Known" - Lo-fi intro. Dave opens the lyrics by rhyming "way" with "way," the motherfucker. This is heavier than anything on the softer side of that dual In Your Honor disc I was talking about before, but with acoustic guitars, it probably would have fit in there nicely. It actually builds to a much heavier place than it started, so maybe it could have been the perfect song to bridge the gap between disc 2 and disc 1 back in 2005. It ends with another everybody-stop-then-Dave-shouts-something line that I feel has been used already a few times on this album, but I'm not going to go back and confirm, so you're on your own.
"Walk" - When I heard this one the other day on the radio I wasn't too crazy about it. I think I like it better the second time around. Well, almost. Halfway through the song, there's a string of lame rhymes and cliches that are eventually delivered with the exact same phrasing as "Best of You." It also sort of sounds like "DOA," another late period Foo Fighters song that I don't care for, despite it's catchiness. It's also got a really abrupt, non-epic ending for an album closer. I can get on board with that. I'm glad they didn't drag it out because they felt obligated too. I mean that in a lot of ways.