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Album Review

Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold

Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold

By: Zach Wilson

Over the last 22 years, the Foo Fighters have consistently released quality radio rock that has catapulted them into the title of biggest band in the world. Though things like production quality and guitar work have improved over the years, the Foo Fighters have rarely been in the business of reinventing themselves. Sure, front man Dave Grohl will do some different things; he’s created documentaries about the process of recording one of his albums, guest-hosted talk shows, randomly filled in on drums for metal bands like Ghost, as well as country artists like the Zac Brown Band (and everything in between). He’s an interesting guy to say the least. But has the music ever really changed that drastically? Obviously, it has worked for them and they have made some absolute classics, but they haven’t released anything that was too incredibly unique from the previous album in decades. Concrete and Gold, on the other hand, is a slight departure from their usual sound.

While “Run” and “The Line” sound like Foo Fighters singles through and through, the rest of the album branches out into lots of other ideas. The band delves into different areas of classic rock, punk, and even progressive rock at times. The band often uses backing vocals on this album to fill out the sound, which is something they’ve never really done to this extent. Dave Grohl himself said that he wanted this to be the biggest-sounding Foo Fighters record to date, and that he considers the album to sound like “Motorhead’s version of ‘Sgt. Pepper’”. I’ve got to tell you, he was right on the money.

There are so many hints of the Beatles on some of these songs that you’d think a Beatle might have been involved… probably because Paul McCartney appears on this album. On “Sunday Rain”, McCartney gets behind the kit to play drums while drummer Taylor Hawkins takes the reigns as vocalist. Additionally (and in true Dave Grohl fashion), someone you completely wouldn’t expect has to be on the album. Justin Timberlake sings backing vocals on the track “Make It Right”. Does it sound like a song that Timberlake would usually sing on? No. Is his voice super prevalent in the mix? No. Is it still super cool? You bet.

I really appreciate that this album is a good front to back listen; far too often, the Foo Fighters will have all of their singles and best songs up at the top of the track list, and then it slowly tapers off, only to be revived by what is usually a decent closing song on the album. Concrete & Gold doesn’t follow this formula.

The minute-and-a-half long intro track is symphonic and builds up tension to carry the listener into the lead single “Run”. The fourth track, “The Sky is a Neighborhood”, while showcasing some of the best songwriting on the LP and some orchestral strings to increase the overall intensity of the song, uses a gang vocals approach to the chorus that I could do without. But again, they’re trying new things, and that’s good to see. Through Concrete and Gold’s emotional ups and downs, the album continually moves forward without a dull moment. The Foo Fighters have made a living off of making rock anthems. They’ve got some rock anthems on here, but this album is more than that. While they aren’t really changing the game with what they’re doing, they’ve taken some risks with this album and it has truly paid off.

Rating: 7/10

Favorite Tracks: Run, La Dee Da, Arrows, The Line

Brian James

December 5th, 2017

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