I have a love/hate relationship with the Foo Fighters. It's important for you to know where I stand on their past material so that this review doesn't seem like it was written out of context. As you might have guessed, I'm not big on Dave Grohl's pop experiments. I dig him as a person, but as a songwriter, I gave up hope a decade ago. I'm a grunge kid. I think that the eponymous debut is their best record, and yes, I know that I sound like one of "those fans." But I like what I like, and I happen to like the angular melodies and the guttural riffs of what was essentially a solo album.
Ah, 1995. Those were simpler times. I'll never hear a song as heavy as "I'll Stick Around" on the radio again. When I read that Wasting Light was produced by Butch Vig, I didn't want to get my hopes up. When I heard "Rope," I still didn't want to get my hopes up. It was a great song. There had to be a catch. Well, I've taken this CD for several spins now. Was there a catch? Um, I don't know. No, really...I don't know what to think. This album contradicts itself at every turn. Dave has ditched the glossy overproduction that has mired his most recent works, but he insists on cramping nearly every track with a major-key chorus, the kind you would hear in a trailer for a romantic comedy ("These Days" and "Back & Forth" being the worst offenders).
Despite predictable arrangements and radio-ready hooks, Wasting Light is the best Foo Fighters record since 1999's There is Nothing Left to Lose. I'll have to whip out a song-by-song breakdown to tell you why.
- "Burning Bridges" - High energy. The perfect album opener. Don't expect complete sentences, by the way (hey, at least I know howe two spelle).
- "Rope" - I knew that Taylor was a formidable drummer, but holy urethra, Batman! This tune is downright progressive. Extremely catchy. Bitchin' solo.
- "Dear Rosemary" - Nice dynamics. Clever lyrics. This will more than likely be a single at some point.
- "White Limo" - I know what you're getting at, Dave. This was your attempt at writing a modern day "Weenie Beenie." I appreciate the gesture, and I love the rabid shrieking, but it's just not heavy enough.
- "Arlandria" - My favorite ditty. In fact, this is one of my favorite Foo compositions of all time. It comes across as a more developed "Dear Rosemary." Instant live staple.
- "These Days" - Drab.
- "Back & Forth" - See above.
- "A Matter of Time" - See above. Yeah, this is where the album rolls over and dies. These three tracks are eerily similar to one another. Same tempo, same formula, same sameness...simply put, they are boring.
- "Miss the Misery" - A little better. The vocal melodies are more inspired, but we have reached the fifth straight mid-paced number. Mix it up, boys!
- "I Should Have Known" - Something different! Easily one of the stronger cuts. A slow burn featuring Krist Novoselic on bass (you heard me).
- "Walk" - Forgettable. God, this is a terrible review.