The Foo Fighters released a very thematic video for the sixth song on their new album Sonic Highways. Featuring the Preservation Jazz Band’s drumset and handwritten lyrics that weave throughout the bandmates and their setting, it is an engaging experience.
Sonic Highways, the eighth studio album released by Dave Grohl and co., is conceptually a very cool album. There are eight tracks, and each of them were recorded in different studios across the United States. Each of them feature different artists associated with the cities in which they were recorded. “What Did I Do/God As My Witness“, recorded in Austin, uses Gary Clark Jr., “I Am a River”, recorded in New York, features Tony Visconti, famous for his work with David Bowie. “In the Clear” features the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and was recorded in New Orleans. The band plays clarinet, alto saxophone, tuba, trombone, and trumpet on the track, which also features Rami Jaffee playing wurlitzer electric piano on the track, as well as piano, organ and mellotron. In the video, he is seen as playing an upright piano, no doubt for the aesthetic image of the video, which is highly stylized.
We first see the title of the video with a blacked out background, and the soon to become familiar handwriting is established quickly. We then are introduced to the fact that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is somehow involved in this project with a shot of the kick drum skin, which seems to belong to the band. The slow tracking shots give us a wider picture of the band as a whole, and the racks upon racks of extra guitars, and the paintings of African-American musicians. There is a sepia glow to the whole setting which goes well with the warm rustic feel of the inside of the room in which they play. The main focus of the video is Dave Grohl. We see him from the front and side in tight shots many times. Other musicians get their spotlight, but as Dave chants the refraining chorus, we know from the camera that he is the guy who put all this together.
The lingering still shots of the paintings on the walls were an interesting choice by the director. The emphasis they are given seems to want to suggest some sort of connection or relevancy between turn of the 20th century delta blues and ragtime music and an alternative band from the 90’s doing a song 2014 about not being in the clear, although it seems like they are. ‘Sonic Highways’ is the second album which uses Butch Vig as producer. Their previous album, “Wasting Light”, also took advantage of his diverse skills. Vig has produced for the likes of Jimmy Eat World and Muse, as well as being the drummer for the band Garbage. We are looking forward to the promotion and touring that Foo Fighters have slated for 2015, in support of their unique and universal album.