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Fighters light way to success

By Christopher Gauger
posted April 20, 2011

For some peculiar reason, drummers are often underrated. It’s unusual, because everyone knows that without a drummer to keep the rhythm and beat, a band would fail miserably when performing. However, some drummers have stood out in the crowd. One such prodigy has created a Grammy-winning band from the ashes of old. Dave Grohl (formerly of Nirvana), put down his drumsticks in favor of a guitar with his band, Foo Fighters. The venerable rock group has returned with their seventh album Wasting Light, and this time the record is rawer and heavier than ever before.

The 11-song journey begins with “Bridge Burning.” Grohl screams “These are my famous last words!” over the dual electric guitars of Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett. Bassist Nate Mendel plays a trebly groove, while drummer Taylor Hawkins lays down steady backbeats and fast fills. The fist-pumping opener is followed by “Rope,” a clas­sic Foo Fighters song that has topped the Billboard rock charts. “Dear Rosemary” sees Grohl singing and playing guitar alongside one of his idols: Hüsker Dü frontman Bob Mould. Some songs like “White Limo” and “Arlandria” feature a punk style echoing Grohl’s underground roots. “I Should Have Known” gives liste­ners an emotional ride, with lyrics referencing Nirvana’s late frontman Kurt Cobain. “Walk,” the last song, expresses a feeling of hopefulness that closes the album on an upbeat note.

Wasting Light represents the band’s hardest-rocking work since 2002’s One by One. There are no acoustic tracks, in contrast to 2005’s In Your Honor (whose second disc was entirely unplugged) and 2007’s mellow Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. Electric guitars dominate the album’s stripped-down sound, courtesy of the triple axe attack of Grohl, Smear, and Shiflett. “I Should Have Known” stands as the most musically-interesting track on the album. Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic opens the powerful piece with a tender accordion melody. The song then builds up to a crescendo driven by his noteworthy basslines.

The album’s raw sound stems from its back-to-basics approach. It was entirely recorded in Grohl’s garage with an old-school analog tape. Digital editing was avoided; no auto-tune or computerized gimmicks are to be found. Vocals, guitars, bass, and drums each stand out, rather than being jumbled in a chaotic confusion of noise like other modern albums. Foo Fighters relied on Grohl’s old friend Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins) to produce Wasting Light, and his work is duly appreci­a­ted in capturing the band’s live sound.

With their latest effort, Foo Fighters once again satisfy the fans and critics, and attract the attention of new listeners with a heavy-hitting rock record. Wasting Light proves what good music is meant to be, thanks to an “underrated” drummer and his friends.


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