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Review: ‘Wasting Light,’ An Emotional Breakthrough For Fighters, Grohl

Wasting Light

“Wasting Light” by The Foo Fighters is an intriguing record. It’s part self-serving, part fuzzed out fuck you, and part journey into the past. Upon first listen, the album seemed bland and forced. It just felt like a pile of music, and without any kind of striking identity amongst a canon that features such behemoths as “My Hero” and “Everlong.” It seemed like it was about to fall into the land of awful records with honourable intentions.

After spending a little more time with it and letting it put its hooks into me, the album comes off more upset than anything. Troubled, but a piece of music that has substance, and will satisfy the throngs of die hard Foo Fighter fans who have given lead singer David Grohl a few passes over the years with some of the not so stellar albums he’s released. We all know Grohl as this like, drunk uncle who’s part musical genius, but wacky and unruffled. But, on “Wasting Light” the listener gets a rare glimpse into the torment of a man who’s beyond rich and successful, but still has pangs of grief and loss that shines genuinely through the musical interior.

David Grohl

“Wasting Light” is different; it was a labor of hard emotions that provide clues into a man so many feel like they know so well. From slamming the drums back in the ’90s with Nirvana, we’re finally seeing the haunting repercussions of the 17 years since Kurt Cobain killed himself. The album is littered with references to Grohl’s past. Butch Vig, this little indie guy whom you might have heard of, recorded it in Grohl’s garage, on analog. Not digitally. Just like he did when he recorded the world changing “Nevermind” 20 years prior. Kirst Noveselic makes a rare recorded appearance. Pat Smear is back in the band. The howling torment of the ghost of Cobain shines through from obscenely distorted guitar riffs to ear piercing feedback that impregnates the listeners mind with vulgar clarity of mid life crises and a violent remembrance for a fallen comrade.

On ‘Rope” and “Arlandia,” it feels almost as Grohl channeling his best Josh Homme, another visionary who could end up on a slab at any moment with the abuse he’s allowed his body over the years. Through all of the rage that seeps through, it was gratifying to hear Bob Mould of Husker Du fame add some flavor to spice up an already disturbed portrait of artistic humanity. “Wasting Light” is worth your money, it’s worth hearing a side of the Foo’s we haven’t seen, expressed in vivid colors.

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