This is not so much a record review as a love letter. I am hardly impartial when it comes to Foo Fighters and I cannot imagine not liking anything they do, especially after almost 13 years of hardcore fandom. But I am especially enamored of this album. At the end of every song I am compelled to shout “fuckin’ A, Foo Fighters!” I don’t know that I have ever felt that way about another album of theirs—or anyone else’s.
The album-opening “Bridge Burning” yanks you in by the throat and then kicks you in the chest back to your seat. “These are my famous last words!” it begins, and goddammit, he ain’t fuckin’ around! Reminiscent of 2002’s One by One, “Rope” brings it down a bit—but not much, as the screaming is just getting started. “Dear Rosemary” is a cool, catchy number that you’ll be singing when you wake up in the morning, especially the “This was no ordinary life” hook that features Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould. “White Limo” is pure thrash metal screaming fuckery and my favorite song on the album—a difficult decision to make, but I base this on the number of times I have obsessively played it over and over in the five days since the album was released. It’s the song that reminds you of what a metal fiend Dave Grohl grew up as, despite his underground punk street cred. Primal screaming at its rock-n-roll best!
“Arlandria”, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! “Shame, shame, go away/Come again some other day”; who hasn’t felt that way? “These Days” is simply beautiful. The Foo sound of The Colour and the Shape is all over the brilliant and catchy “Back And Forth”. “A Matter of Time” reminds me a bit of There is Nothing Left to Lose, sort of pop and sort of hard and completely awesome. Everything about “Miss the Misery” is amazing, and it’s the song whose lyrics gave the album its title. “I Should Have Known” is a great, great song, and probably the most introspective and open to speculation by fans and critics alike. I won’t go into that here, but it’s the kind of song that we can all relate to, and our hero Mr. Grohl certainly had more than just you-know-who on his mind when he wrote it. There are definitely some familiar guitar riffs and lyrics on “Walk”, the perfect song to end this incredible album. It’s sort of like Dave’s come to terms with his past, the past that other people won’t let him live down. He’s talked a bit more about it in interviews recently, most notably in the excellent Back and Forth documentary, and in lines like “Learnin’ to walk again/Learnin’ to talk again/Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough”. Again, the brilliance of Dave’s song writing is in making his lyrics fun to sing and accessible to everyone while maintaining his privacy and sense of mystery.
In the 15 months since Wasting Light was released, I have heard it at least 500 times. That number includes listening to the album itself as well as live performances of it from Studio 606 and on David Letterman. While I was working on the silent auction for the museum I work in I always had the 606 concert on replay so I could listen to it five or six times a day. Coworkers would walk by and wonder why they kept hearing the same songs over and over. I never got tired of it. Like all of their albums this one reminds me of a particular time in my life, a time of great change and opportunity. The title Wasting Light, Dave explains in the Back and Forth documentary, reflects his desire to make the most of the daylight, to not waste any time and do as much as he can with his life. I have been very frustrated with a lot of things for the past few years, but in the time since this record came out I have been working more diligently to stop wasting time. I spent a lot of years being a party girl and a smartass (I stole that line from Dorothy Parker in the movie Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle), and now that I am a ripe old 39 it is time to do something with my life. Foo always makes me want to do better, to be happy, to be me. It is finally going to happen.
If you’re already a Foo fan, you’ll love this album. If you’re not sure about Foo, this is the perfect way to get all up in that shit and stay there! Wasting Light is all I expected it to be and more, and totally worth waiting four years for. I cannot imagine a more perfect collection of songs. Foo Fighters are the best band in the world, genius live performers, and just really cool, talented, regular guys who know how lucky they are to play music for a living.