8 Cities, 8 Songs, and 1 Rock Album to Rule Them All…?
Almost 20 years after their debut album, the fellows at Foo Fighters have made it quite evident that they are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the genre of Rock & Roll. To say they do not belong in Rock Music would be a complete and ignorant insult to their mighty achievements. So, when they are given the chance to make an album solely based on the “rock experience” itself, why not grab this opportunity by the horns?
Despite the initial announcement of taking a break from the music game back in 2012, the boys at Foo Fighters were right back at writing their 8th studio album in 2013. The plan: 8 Rock songs written in the 8 most prominent Rock and Roll cities in the nation. 1 song written in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. each. There will even be an 8 part HBO series by the name Sonic Highways too. The purpose: To pay absolute homage to the art, history, and sacrifice of the Rock and Roll Genre. The Outcome: meh.
What would make me cast aside an epic project like this? The album’s mediocrity, for starters. While there were a handful of songs that caught my interest (The Feast and the Famine, What Did I Do? /God as my Witness, I Am a River being some of them), the majority of songs left me feeling rather unenthusiastic about this album based on great promises. Dave Grohl gives his usual and occasional “rocker screams” as it were. Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear do top notch jobs in their guitar ballads. Yet, I still can’t help but feel like there could have been more. Songs seem to show some potential, but the album itself never seems to take off in epic proportions, as it so obviously should have.
The (Not-So-Quick) Heads Up:
Still, the most disappointing part of the album is the continued use of profanities and negative themes. It is nice that sexual content never seems to creep in too much (aside from what seems to be a statement referring to homosexuality in Outside). We are introduced to Sonic Highways in Something From Nothing by what could be called a basic Rock song. Not only is the actual song bland, but also features 2 unfortunate F words used. Next The Feast and the Famine gives us 1 S word, and the murky lyrics to Subterranean tell us a couple times that life has been the equivalent of going to “hell and back again” (with 3 D words to evidently emphasize the misery). In the Clear has some good to be said of it, but using g*****n is by far not one of the things to mention. Along with this is the weird illustration found in Congregation that Rock Concerts can be the equivalence of a church assembly of worship.
If I have not made it any clearer; I don’t like this CD. Now, that is not to say there is nothing good to say regarding this mess…er, I mean, album. For one, What Did I Do? / God as my Witness is actually quite a good song. It is both catchy and meaningful. We finally see some good areas regarding the idea that though we have made mistakes, we can seek redemption and deliverance from such areas that control our souls. I Am a River also has a nice sound to it, with a message of the importance of meaningful relationships to boot. The Feast and the Famine is also one of the catchiest songs on the track that also shows that one should try to learn from their past mistakes to improve their future. Unfortunately, the sole S word muddies up the song.
I suppose it is for the best that FF’s new CD was called an experiment. The reason being is that it seems oh so generic and typical for an ode to the Rock Music industry. The weirdness of making Rock almost a religion of sorts is beyond eye-brow raising, so is the continuous profanities that lace this album throughout. I can’t totally shred it by saying that every song is boring, but I can say it regarding at least 2/3rds of the album. The nice thing about personal reviews is that the personal opinion ultimately rules. In this case, the CD pretty much stinks, pure and simple. I speak not for the overwhelming amount of Foo Fighter fans out there, nor for the good men at Christian Entertainment Reviews (Regarding the taste of music, not the content obviously). Yet, for my own review, I am the law. And this law states that this album should not come any closer to my city.