Foo Fighters perpetuate signature sound on ninth album

Photo courtesy of Stereogum

Foo Fighters have impressed fans yet again with the band’s latest album, Concrete and Gold, which was released on Friday. This is the ninth studio album from the Grammy Award-winning and critically acclaimed rock band. Though the band released its previous album, Sonic Highways, three years ago and EP Saint Cecilia two years ago, fans were eager for new music.

Among the 11 tracks on Concrete and Gold, the singles “Run,” “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” and “The Line” have received positive feedback from fans. In June, the band released “Run” and soon after it announced the new album.

Affirming its infamous reputation for lineup changes, Foo Fighters also announced that touring keyboardist Rami Jaffee had officially joined the band as the sixth member. The band spent most of this year writing and recording the album at Hollywood’s EastWest Studios with the iconic pop producer Greg Kurstin. Although Kurstin has worked exclusively with pop acts like Adele, Kelly Clarkson and Sia, frontman and lead singer David Grohl expressed how working together would be a fun challenge and could move the band’s sound in different directions.

In a newsletter to fans, the band said the album “has more twists and turns than a live Senate hearing. Like a box of really loud chocolates. Hope you’re hungry.” Although the band has been making music for over 20 years, Concrete and Gold features tracks that sometimes stray away from its traditional heavy sound.

The record opens with the short and sweet “T-Shirt,” starting with the heartfelt lyrics “I don’t wanna be king / I just wanna sing love songs / Pretend there’s nothing wrong / You can sing along with me.” The soft and sweet melody provides a contrast to the typical music put out by Foo Fighters.

Just over five minutes long, “Run” entails everything that makes the classic Foo Fighters sound. Understated at the beginning, the drums and guitars come in immediately, followed by forceful vocals. With guitar riffs and a slowed-down chorus so the listener can take in Grohl’s voice, the song is similar to many of the band’s other hits. Featuring a guitar solo and alternating between fast, heavy sounds and slow, soft sounds, “Run” is a great poster song for the album.

Differing a bit from Foo Fighters’ heavier sound, “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” features a dreamier melody throughout the song. Despite the sluggish tempo and less aggressive vocals, the song still encompasses power between the drums and guitars.

The album features classic Foo Fighters sounds in songs like “Arrows” and “Sunday Rain,” but also has its fair share of gentler songs like “Dirty Water” and “Happily Ever After (Zero Hour).” The record also features special guests like Paul McCartney on drums in “Sunday Rain” and Justin Timberlake on backup vocals in “Make It Right.” On an album full of influences, listeners will find traces of The Beatles in many songs, a sense of Queen in “T-Shirt,” an accent of Led Zeppelin in “Make It Right” and definite Pink Floyd vibes in the closing song, “Concrete and Gold.”

There is little doubt Concrete and Gold will be a stranger to success, as Foo Fighters continuously peaks the charts. Despite a new producer and high ambitions to challenge generic conventions, Concrete and Gold sounds like a classic Foo Fighters album. The mix of slower, sweeter songs and tracks featuring Grohl’s grungy voice and heavy instrumentals gives Concrete and Gold the potential to become one of Foo Fighters’ most memorable albums in its discography.

Before embarking on a 23-date U.S. tour in October, Foo Fighters will be headlining the Cal Jam 17 Festival in San Bernardino, Calif.