Sonic Highways – Foo Fighters: Album Review

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The introduction to the Foo Fighter’s eighth studio album ‘Sonic Highways’ is as haunting as it is beautiful, and it truly befits its name “Something From Nothing”. The opening lines of Grohl’s rugged voice are withdrawn and restrained, until the lead guitar kicks in, at which point the song picks up serious pace. The guitar trio sound of Pat, Dave and Chris is crunchy and earthy, yet you never feel as though either guitarist steps on another’s toes musically. The breakdown of the song is gripping, as the guitar sound slowly brings this song’s “something” from nothing. Finally the years show no damage to Grohl’s voice as he “fucks it all” and screams with deadly voracity.

The Feast and the Famine’s intro screams right out of the gates with a scratchy piercing guitar riff from lead guitarist Chris Shiflett. The drums pickup, Grohl wakes up and they all combine for one killer chorus. This song takes the listener back to the Foos of old, rough around the edges, and as punk as an ex-acid addict cum Nirvana drummer cum guitarist cum lead singer can get. “Where is the monuments” is a big question this song brings up. That’s the thing with lyrics, sometimes it doesn’t have to make sense, because in real life no one really gives a crap about monuments.

‘Congregation’ is an upbeat congregation of the Foo’s new sound, one that’s less emphatically rough as with earlier albums such as The Colour and the Shape, and more accommodating for their new sound of three guitarists, to boot with Grohl’s maturing voice, although that being said, if he needs to turn it up to 11 he can, as is with the case of “white limo” in their last album Wasting Light, where Grohl screams his lungs out like a pack of choirboys would do if they were approached by a pack of priests.

What did I do/God as my witness, opens up with a solemn sounding Grohl, which quickly turns to a cheeky younger sounding Grohl in the chorus. Has to be one of the catchier songs on the album. ‘Outside’ is one of the heavier tracks on the album, and yet it also has one of the more melodically flowing solos on it as well. The Shifmeister picks up the gusto of the song well, with his offbeat licks and country twang like bends on his luscious Fender Telecaster Deluxe made especially for him.

‘In the Clear’ must be how the Foos are feeling right now. The song speaks of Grohl’s torments of his career, yet how these are significantly outweighed by the days that go your way, and how everything is ‘In the Clear’. ‘Subterranean’ starts off dreamy and hauntingly, as the acoustic guitar’s strumming addled with Grohl’s clear vocals, portrays the mood of the song almost immediately.

If the Sistine Chapel was Michelangelo’s latest yet greatest work, then so is the case with the last track “I Am a River” which hands down takes the title of best song on this album. It flows beautifully well, with the dreamy guitar twangs matched with a crunchier rhythm track. After a good two minute build-up, Grohl gives the listener “what you want” which is apparently a “river”. Hey at least being a river’s not too bad, unlike the time Metallica’s lead singer James Hetfield thought he was a table… Anyways I digress, the chorus is just something else, and the guitar ringing in the background serves as a formidable ally to Dave’s roar that he “is a river”.

9/10 Times I’ve already listened to this album

9/10 Rating

Mike Silva, Music Editor

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