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10Listens Review: Foo Fighters, ‘Wasting Light’

I love this band, but I still tried to be objective with my latest review for 10Listens:

The subtitle of the excellent new Foo Fighters documentary is Back and Forth, taken from a song of the same name from Wasting Light. Looking at their career, which now spans seven full albums, plus other releases, the phrase “back and forth” also addresses their constant touring but more importantly captures a certain restlessness in the band’s music from album to album, even while acknowledging their classic sound. For every louder album, it seems that, singles aside, there’s oddly enough a lower-key one coming up next. I admire bands that try to stretch their sound but, honestly, I was also very much hoping that Wasting Light would be a return to form for these guys, coming home from a largely acoustic vacation and itching to play loud and fast, unapologetically, having some real fun again and, if you like, recapturing the excitement of youth before all this growing up got in the way.

My anticipation grew over the last few months as the band released bits of music, the attacking opening riff and line of the first track, “Bridge Burning,” and even the entire “White Limo,” a souped-up “Weenie Beenie” complete with a typically jaunty video. These songs hinted at Dave Grohl reincorporating some of the energy he let fly with Them Crooked Vultures and, almost ten years ago now, Queens of the Stone Age. Incidentally, that kind of bothered me in recent years, how he’d frequently slow down and soften the Foo Fighters’ music – often to a beautiful degree, mind you – while having louder fun with other bands. Whether those chances were taken elsewhere to protect the Foos’ brand, or Grohl was purposefully using his most popular platform to be widely, if more quietly, expressive, that anxiety has been thrown aside. Wasting Light thankfully shows these guys going with what brung them.

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