The Renegade Rip

Foo Fighters fall flat with latest lyrical foray

The album cover for "Sonic Highways."

Elizabeth Castillo, Reporter

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The Nicest Guy in Rock n’ Roll leads the Foo Fighters into sonic disappointment with their eighth studio album.

“Sonic Highways” was written and recorded all over the nation. The album was supposed to reflect the musical diversity found all across the country from punk to blues to hard rock and so on. Instead, the album is a lost, hodgepodge of supposed genre influence that leaves listeners confused and begging for the tracks the Foos released over a decade ago.

The record’s radio single, “Something from Nothing” is a terrible representation of what the Foos are capable of. The song’s introduction is extremely reminiscent of the opening notes to the band’s 2005 release, “Skin and Bones.” The something from something else track continues its way through mediocrity by stealing a guitar riff from 80’s metalheads, Dio. “Something from Nothing” bears an interesting resemblance to “Holy Diver.” The only saving grace of the track is the organ appearance that adds a funky vibe to the song.

“What Did I Do?/God as My Witness” has a promising beginning but eventually becomes a cheesy and unnecessary ode to classic rock that merely defiles the genre. The song also features piano and fiddles, adding odd moments of country rock. “What Did I Do?” further adds to the loss of identity experienced throughout the album.

While most albums should end on an epic or memorable note leaving listeners wanting more, “I am a River” is one of the least notable songs of the entire album. The song begins very pleasantly but throughout the song’s very long seven minutes and nine seconds, the lyrics are dreadfully vague and full of cheesy New York generalizations. Obnoxious lyrics such as “secret behind the soho door/ reason beneath the subway floor” exhibit some of Grohl’s worst lyrics ever. The track ends with a cliché string-section-outro that is entirely unnecessary and over the top.

The cross-country ode to music was supposed to inspire the band and influence them into creating a unique album blending wonderful genres found in the dives and bars spotted through big cities. This beautiful idea is not entirely heard in this album, but some songs allude to what the Foo Fighters were actually aiming for. “The Feast and The Famine” shows the inspiration Grohl was looking for in this road trip. The track is sonically more exciting than other songs in the album. It displays punk characteristics with sing-along repetition, a short length and fast-playing guitars. Lyrically, the song could be more original, “where is the monument/ to the dreams we forget” is an obvious allusion to D.C. but Grohl pays the most respect to the district’s punk scene by creating a likeable song that show’s his roots in punk. The song was recorded at Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, VA and shows the passion the Foo Fighters mostly lack in “Sonic Highways”.

Another song on the album worth a listen is “Congregation.” It has a nice poppy sound that the Foo Fighters accomplish pretty well. The song is reminiscent of the previous acoustic rock hit “Cold Day in the Sun.” Overall, “Congregation” is a pleasant track that shows that the Foo Fighters haven’t completely forgotten their sound. Additionally, the song features Dave Grohl’s new buddy Zac Brown, which may have added to the success of the song. Grohl wasn’t trying to force a guest appearance and perhaps the two had a genuine jam session while creating this track. It is one of the longer songs on the album but doesn’t drag on unnecessarily. Through “Congregation”, the Foo Fighters take listeners on a musical journey that illustrates the idea behind “Sonic Highways.”

While the Foo Fighters may have missed the mark on this album, a couple of standout songs save the Foos from complete inferiority. Overall, “Sonic Highways” is a disappointing mess of songs that show the Foo Fighters spread themselves too thin in an attempt to be inspired by the sounds of our nation.

 

2 stars

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Foo Fighters fall flat with latest lyrical foray