Foo Fighters - Concrete and Gold Album Review

Story posted September 18, 2017 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Owen Paiva

Dave Grohl leads the Foo Fighters on an album that seems like it was lost in the sixties. Three years removed from their last album, Concrete and Gold ditches the visceral hard rock style for an alt rock romp through the golden age of rock, with influences from Kansas, Pink Floyd and even the Fab Four. The album is distinct from the other Foo Fighters albums with it being different in tone and style than the classic The Colour and The Shape or the memorable There Is Nothing Left to Lose.

With a more minimal style on the album with only guitar, bass, percussion and vocals normally utilized and with less distortion than normally used, the instrumentals sound like they could easily be found on a Kansas or Pink Floyd Album. The drums are used to accentuate the beat of the song and really help with the mood, especially based on the tempo kept up. The clean guitar on most tracks usually is acoustic and helps establish the nostalgic feeling present throughout the album. The bass is used in a similar way to the drums as an accentuation of Grohl’s singing. A rock organ is the only other instrument commonly used, which is a staple of 60’s rock.

Concrete and Gold is a happy sounding, yet depressing album. Themes of heartbreak, depression, hopelessness and anger are persistent throughout the album. Grohl’s singing for the majority of the album is clean, without his trademark half yelling, half singing style prominent for most of the band’s discography. The mood is upbeat, but the lyrics are what really allow the darker feelings to set in.

“Run” and “La Dee Da” are the heavy songs on the album, with the Foo Fighters older style peeking through, especially on “Run,” with a more hard rock guitar, Grohl’s screeching vocals and a faster drum beat. This comes as a surprise as the opening of the song is upbeat, yet moody. “Wake up/ Run for your life with me,” is a happy sounding, yet sad, chorus which leads into the hard rock transition. “La Dee Da” is very reminiscent of the older style of the band as well. “You don’t notice/ La dee da,” and, “Keep your pretty promise to yourself,” are the prominent choruses in which Grohl is mockingly addressing someone who sounds as if they are giving him problems. The song feels as if it was ripped out of a sports game soundtrack from the mid-2000’s, especially in the chorus. “The Sky is a Neighborhood” is the last Foo Fighters-esque song which sounds like an angry sequel to “Learn to Fly” which matches the heavenly themes with a more aggressive message. “Oh my dear heaven is a big place/ Now got to get to sleep somehow,” which is delivered again like Grohl is addressing someone.

The four songs that really stand out as the strongest influenced by the sixties are “T-Shirt,” “Dirty Water,” “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)” and “Sunday Rain”. “Dirty Water” in particular is the stand out song of the album, with the crippling feeling of hopelessness eating at the narrator. “In my dreams I’m climbing ladders/ I tumble down from my rungs/ I keep falling faster/ My heart is echoing on and on,” as Grohl talks about his feelings. Dirty water is something the narrator keeps drinking and is a stand in for hopelessness. The narrator has these recurring feelings and the despair is evident.  “Sunday Rain” is special as Paul McCartney plays the drums and, along with Grohl’s rhythmic guitar playing, create a song that sounds like a mix of “Carry On My Wayward Sun,” “Stairway to Heaven” and, most prevalently, “Another Brick in the Wall.”

The album feels like it is an ode to the classic rock era. However, it encompasses all classic rock styles, which can be a good or a bad thing. There is no uniform sound on the album, though the themes are there. The album has songs that appeal to fans of the older Foo Fighters’ albums, but those songs, while enjoyable, do not do much in breaking from the norm. The experimental parts of the album are well orchestrated, but some songs overstay their welcome, with the repetitive style of sixties rock dragging on the longer tracks.

The album is a solid piece of work, but suffers from the two different styles present, with each vying for supremacy. For fans of old school rock, it is a welcome treat to hear, but the Foo Fighters’ younger fans will not be as familiar or as appreciative of the attention to detail put in to achieve a nostalgic sound. Hopefully the Foo Fighters return to their old sound on the next album, but this album was a welcome surprise.

Rating: 7/10

 

Owen Paiva is a freshman majoring in Film/Video. To contact him, email owenpaiva@sbcglobal.net.