I wanna be medicated
17 February 2021-
In these strange times of Covid, it is incredibly comforting to hear the new and refreshing sounds coming from the Foo Fighters' (virtual) garage...
Dave Grohl and his friends rarely disappoint. In the band’s 25+ year existence, the Foo Fighters have been extremely generous in giving the people what they want — that is heavy, energetic, catchy bits of post-grunge, alt-rock artistry. And this time, they truly outdid themselves: after production on their last album, Medicine at Midnight, got stalled because of the current situation (healthwise: we don’t talk politics here), they came back strong and finished the work — to our unabashed delight!
Fresh off their nomination for this year’s crop of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees (fingers crossed: final results to be announced in May!), the Foo Fighters show without the shadow of a doubt that they know how to age gracefully. As it happens, time tends to have a detrimental effect on rock musicians, the best of whom usually end up reinventing themselves à la David Bowie (see the man’s 90’s experimentations with electronic music). Grohl and his colleagues didn’t do that, they didn’t have to: instead, they dug deeper in that seemingly bottomless well of rock creativity they seem to be the only ones to know about…
From the get go, you can tell that Medicine at Midnight is not merely the 10th album of a major recording band, but an eminently solid addition to their already stellar discography. The one-two punch that “Making a fire” and “Shame shame” constitutes sends a clear message: the Foo Fighters are not here to rehash previous material, or trying to stay relevant by espousing whatever new trend came along in recent years. Instead, they show growth within their post-grunge style of heavy rock, with uncharacteristically subtle melodies perfectly served by Trent Reznor-worthy production work.
The rest of the album is always interesting, at times equally stellar: “No son of mine” features a riff the likes of which we haven’t heard since Metallica circa 1986 — or, better yet, since Ozzy Osbourne’s pre-bat eating shenanigans. Meanwhile, “Chasing birds” could have very well been recorded by a young and subdued Barry Gibb: the kind of perfect ballad you would not quite expect from a band formed by a drummer-turned-guitar hero with the energy of a hyped-up Jim Carrey. Nevertheless, they persisted (again, no political reference here).
The album closes with “Loves dies young”, a straight-up rock tune featuring guitar work reminiscent of a young Brian May and lyrics whose melancholic message somewhat contradicts the feelings we, as listeners, have at this point: our love for the Foo Fighters and their music will not die anytime soon!