On their latest album Concrete and Gold, the Foo Fighters embrace a more experimental, almost psychedelic sound and combine it with their own signature hard alternative rock sound. It is indeed a far cry from their classic albums like The Colour and the Shape.
The echoes of past rock bands reverberate throughout the album. Led Zeppelin’s influence can be heard on “Make it Right,” and Pink Floyd has its mark on “The Sky is a Neighborhood” and the title track.
The most prevalent influence on the album, however, comes from the Beatles and their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in May. The band has stated that the album is meant to sound like “Motörhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper’s.”
Like every Foo Fighters album, frontman and guitarist Dave Grohl steals the show. His vocal range, spanning from the soft and melodic to the loud and violent, is more dynamic on this album in comparison to previous ones. Lyrically, Grohl writes about the current state and future of the country “politically, personally, as a father, American, and a musician.” However, the complex, Beatle-esque sound overshadows the lyrical content of the album. This overshadowing is probably a byproduct of the album’s producer, Greg Kurstin.
Having produced for big names such as Adele, Kendrick Lamar, and former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher in the past year alone, Kurstin has recently emerged as one of the most renowned producers in the music business.
For a Foo Fighters album, a surprising number of guest artists appear, including Justin Timberlake, Alison Mosshart of The Kills, and Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman. However, the highlight guest artist is definitely Paul McCartney, whose presence is very appropriate considering the Beatles’ influence on the album. He plays drums on the track “Sunday Rain” while normal drummer Taylor Hawkins switches to lead vocals.
Overall, the reaction to the album has been positive with most listeners noting a step up in quality as compared to 2011’s Wasting Light and 2014’s Sonic Highways.
MBA’s own resident music connoisseur and band instructor Jordan Frederick had high praise for the album, saying, “I thought the new album harkened back to The Colour and the Shape and had a great variety of styles, from the typical rock anthem to the more subdued.” He also noted the contrast between their last two albums and the new boundaries they broke musically.
Fans of the Foo Fighters will be satisfied with the balance of the band’s classic sound with this new one. The only real drawback is the chronic issue of LP filler. Not every track is as memorable as the band would have wanted it to be, but in their defense, most albums suffer from this problem.
Concrete and Gold is probably the best Foo Fighters album since Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, which is now nearly ten years old. The album is available on both streaming services and physical formats. The vinyl version comes with two LP discs as well as a special etching on side four.
Don’t forget to catch the Foo Fighters on tour when they come to Nashville on October 23!