Given that the two of us both came into being in the fall of 1994, I think it is fair to say that the Foo Fighters and I have grown up together even though I was a baby and the Foo Fighters were already grown men. To me the Fighters are like a friend made back in the days of early childhood before you get the chance to expand your social strata past the kids on your own block: easily accessible, not the absolute worst and definitely present in the background of subconscious memories of unimportant events like fifth grade graduation. Like little Peter down the street who just so happened to be the only other kid on the block, songs like “Everlong,” “The Pretender” and “Best of You” snuck their way into the folds of my subconscious memory, not by being catchy or musically impressive but because they got to me early before anybody else could.
Of course, the best part about this friend is eventually growing apart from them. Sure, little Peter had a Playstation in his room and always had snacks. But you eventually realize that you hate video games, Peter’s mom only bought store brand BBQ chips, and that the only reason you hung around him in the first place was because your parents went to highschool together and they had nowhere else to drop you off when they wanted a full three seconds of peace and quiet.
Just like Peter, the Foo Fighters unknowingly filled a void in my life that would eventually be replaced with things that I like a lot more and, just like I made better friends to replace Peter, I found better and more eclectic music to fill those gaps previously colonized by the Foo Fighters.
Now imagine little Peter never grew up, that he was almost exactly the same today as he was 15 years ago only sporting a new hideous beard and guess what: he’s calling your phone and he heard you were in town for the weekend. Now, through obligation or through pity, you’re spending your Saturday back at little Peter’s house like you did when you were eight years old and you are anything but excited.
In standard Foo Fighters fare, the songs on Concrete and Gold are serviceable but lack any grabbing elements that should be present in nice and loud radio rock: the riffs are loud but aren’t heavy or slick enough to stand out from one another. The beats get the toes tapping every now and then but never stomp or get really rowdy. And Dave Grohl continues to sing about general topics with the same several notes he’s been using for years without managing to sound or say anything grabbing. Grohl seems to love projects that show off his varying tastes in rock music(Probot, the Sonic Highways documentaries), so it’s surprising that his primary band’s music always comes off so dull. It’s like there’s a formula that the band is afraid to stray from, that they’re afraid to try and record anything but monotonous pseudo-anthems that could only end up catchy on accident..
The most exciting parts of this formula come with the deviations from the plodding, mid-paced standard pace that this album, and all Foo Fighters albums in general, set and stick to throughout the running time. “Make it Right” is a fun rocker with a riff that actually manages to rock a bit. “Dirty Water” starts out with a pretty guitar part that Grohl doesn’t manage to ruin with his brutal voice. And “The Line” has a lush and poppy quality to it that makes it a little something more than standard. However the rest sounds like uniform pieces from the Foo Fighters whole. The album is serviceable, solid even, but I’ve been hearing songs that sound like “My Hero” for literal decades now and they still can’t seem to amount to anything special.
While I wouldn’t say that I have a very high opinion about anything or anyone mentioned in this article, it feels right that I should leave a little space to express a little bit of due gratitude. So Peter and Dave: thanks for taking up a little bit of space in my childhood, even if all of our time together was only good for showing me how much more I would eventually like all of those things that aren’t you.
Listen To ‘Concrete and Gold’ Below