Last week the Foo Fighters released their ninth studio album, “Concrete and Gold.” It manages to take the best parts from their previous albums, “Wasting Light” and “Sonic Highways” and combine them into a concise, rewarding rock album.
The Foos finished their eighth album, “Sonic Highways” in 2014 and went on a world tour to support it. In summer 2015, frontman Dave Grohl fell off the stage during a performance in Sweden, breaking his leg.
However, he went to the back, got it wrapped up and finished the 26 song set. They continued the tour for the rest of the year with Grohl sitting atop a throne to keep his leg up.
After the tour ended the band decided to take a long hiatus. During this time, Grohl became a recluse and lived in isolation for a while. During this time, he wrote the lead single off of “Concrete and Gold” called “Run.”
Creating the song gave the band a spark and they ended their hiatus to begin work on the album.
The band then did something unorthodox. They worked with Greg Kurstin, a producer for artists such as Adele and Sia.
This is similar to what their friends in Queens of the Stone Age did last month with the release of “Villains,” teaming with pop producer Mark Rosen.
The addition of a pop producer has led to some changes, including multi-layered vocals and more harmonies than usual on a Foo Fighters record. The songs are more consise and there’s a good funk vibe going throughout the album.
The album manages to balance the pop and funk influence with the Foos typical hard rock sound and makes a very interesting sound, especially on standout tracks like “La Dee Da” and “Make It Right.”
Yet on “Happily Ever After (Zero Hour)” the band channels both the sound from their 1995 debut album and The Beatles to make a great downer ballad.
Speaking of The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney joins the band on drums and Taylor Hawkins does vocals on “Sunday Rain,” a song that is reminiscent of some of John Lennon’s solo work.
“The Sky is a Neighborhood” is the second single off the album and is a fantastic track. The use of synths along with the lyrics give the song a moody feel similar to recent work from The Black Keys.
The lead single “Run” is the highlight of the album. It follows the typical Foo Fighters roadmap, starting sweet and soft before blasting you with sound a killer chorus. It’s message of waking up and running your own life makes it seem like a thematic sequel to “Wasting Light’s” single “Walk.”
During the lead up to the album Grohl described it as “Sgt. Peppers meets Motorhead.” While it doesn’t live up to that, it does a good job of paying tribute to their influences while keeping the sound their own.
With “Concrete and Gold” the Foo Fighters have ventured just far enough outside their comfort zone to create some new tracks that change the formula and make the band feel fresh, without any gimmicks such as touring the countryside.