Friday, October 17, 2014

A room with a Foo

What do we want from the Foo Fighters? Invention? Innovation? Inspiration? No, silly, we want ball-busting rock songs, impeccably groomed facial hair and Dave Grohl doing his patented Dave Grohl shouting.

So, after Grohl warned their upcoming eighth album, Sonic Highways, would be the band's "most ambitious yet", it's a relief to hear the Foos haven't gone all Marcel Duchamp on us. In fact, they sound exactly like the Foos.

Something From Nothing is the album's first single, and it's one long crescendo. Opening with a hushed, distant, Stairway to Heaven riff, it builds in such a leisurely fashion they temporarily fool you into thinking they've become, well... polite young men. But with Steve Albini at the helm that was never going to be the case and the last minute is an almighty, throaty roar.

The conceit of Sonic Highways is that every song was recorded in a different studio in a different city, with a special guest dropping in to lend some local flavour (an HBO documentary accompanies each track). In Something For Nothing's case, the studio was Chicago's Electric Audio, and the star power came from Cheap Trick's guitarist, Rick Nielsen.

Grohl also throws in a few lyrical references to Chi-town. As Rolling Stone observes, the line: "Here lies a city on fire... it started with a spark, and burned into the dark" seems to be inspired by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, an incident that was also the subject of the Beach Boys' track Mrs. O'Leary's Cow.

Anyway, that's enough context, let's get to the song. It's a solid 7/10 - with the potential to gain or lose a point after 20 plays.

Foo Fighters - Something From Nothing

Bonus content: In anticipation of the single being released, the Foo Fighters popped up on David Letterman's show last night, covering Cheap Trick's Stiff Competition, with Taylor Hawkins up front while Grohl drummed and Rick Nielsen supplied the riffs. You wouldn't get this on Graham Norton...

Foo Fighters and Rick Nielsen - Stiff Competition

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