Rock band the Foo fighters offer a carefully crafted mix of catchy, hard rocking songs on their new album, “Medicine at Midnight.
Originally intended for sale in 2020, the album’s release was postponed until Feb. 5 due to the pandemic. Not to be deterred, the group built hype in recent weeks with appearances on “Saturday Night Live,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “iHeartRadio ALTer EGO” and during the President Joe Biden inauguration celebration.
This is the 10th overall LP for the band who formed in 1994, after Nirvana broke up due to Singer/Songwriter Kurt Cobain’s death. Dave Grohl was Nirvana’s drummer.
With this entry in their discography, The Foo Fighters consists of Grohl (lead vocals, guitar), Nate Mendel (bass), Taylor Hawkins (drums) and Chris Shiflett (guitar) continue to show the evolution of their musical formula.
Album opener “Making a fire,” with its big, radio-friendly grooves and riffs, bursts with energy, thanks to empowered lyrics like, “I’ve waited a lifetime to live. It’s time to ignite, I’m making a fire” topped off with hand claps and help from back-up singers.
A particularly funky current flows throughout, thanks to the duo of hit-maker and producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia) and Omar Hakim (drums for Nile Rogers, Chic) lending expressive, complementary beats. Benefiting from the funk team’s dance sense is “Shame Shame,” a song dominated by darkness with lyrics like, “Another season of loneliness, I found a reason and buried it beneath the mountain of emptiness” yet upbeat in execution.
The stadium-ready, questioning nature of “Waiting on a War”, written for Grohl’s daughter Harper, who once asked him “Daddy, are we going to war?” signals The Foo’s heavier-sounding dominance on the latter half of this lean nine-track output. Noting the nature of the galloping, heavy “No Son of Mine,” in a statement to Rolling Stone, Grohl offered, (it was) “Inspired by Heart, Motorhead and Queen’s ‘Stone Cold Crazy.’ Pour a drink, turn it up, close your eyes and imagine the festival field blowing up to ‘No Son of Mine.’ Because it (expletive( will.”
Solos abound along with more riff exercises on “Holding Poison” and “Love Dies Young,” which are both Punky, brooding and light sounding with lyrics referencing toxic relationships and the short shelf life of love, respectively.
Remaining relevant and successful is a tight rope to oblivion that every performer faces and the Foo Fighters’s tendency to explore the studio pays off. “Chasing Birds,” surreal, somber and philosophical and the title track, initially echoing David Bowie’s vocal delivery, coupled with adventurous composing, are a good indication that the group still enjoys their craft, even though it’s been more than 20 years since its inception.