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CD of The Week

Week of 2/08/21

    Foo Fighters - Medicine At Midnight (RCA / Roswell)

    Ten albums and 25 years into their career, you more or less know what you’re going to get from a Foo Fighters record. Distorted guitar riffs, that tried-and-true loud-quiet-loud formula and Dave Grohl in either whisper or scream mode. Over the last few records, the band has tinkered with the edges of their sounds but never straying too far from the core Foo sound. On the new album Medicine at Midnight, they play with some different rhythmic elements to tweak their latest set of songs.

    While Grohl hyped this album by comparing it to David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, it doesn’t nearly go that far. Instead, he and Taylor Hawkins (and percussionist Omar Hakim, who actually was on Let’s Dance) play around with some different rhythms and patterns throughout the record.

    The lineup of the Foos has grown to six people, including three guitarists. On their last album, 2017’s Concrete and Gold, this weighed the music down to a point where it felt like they were all playing at the same time, all the time. The songs on Medicine at Midnight are given some space and room to breathe, making them more lightweight and not as densely produced.

    Album opener “Making a Fire” kicks things off with some very ‘70s classic rock vibes and a choir of female backing vocalists (Grohl’s daughter Violet is in there somewhere). The first taste of this Medicine was “Shame Shame” and its clattering percussion, which was a surprising choice as a lead single since it doesn’t really represent the rest of the record. The hard-charging rocker “No Son of Mine” brings some big-time Motörhead vibes to the heaviest song on the album. Medicine at Midnight only really lets up once, on “Chasing Birds,” which is very indebted to ‘80s solo Paul McCartney.

    “Waiting on a War” is the most classic-sound Foos song here with one of those big, “Times Like These” style choruses. A lament about multiple generations living under the threat of endless war, it’s unfortunately held back by some clunky lyrics along the way. That’s also the case with the album-closing rave-up “Love Dies Young.”

    As elder statesmen of rock, Foo Fighters aren’t going to completely surprise you on a new album. But with Medicine at Midnight, there are enough interesting ideas and tracks to make you happy that Grohl & co will stick around for years to come.
    Review by Joey O.

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