Old-School Rockers Experiment with New-School Ideas
There’s plenty of people out there who believe rock and roll is downswing these days, pointing to its absence on the radio and recent declines in album sales. Attempting to combat this, the genre has become increasingly reliant on its veterans to keep it in the public eye. Granted, there are many new bands worthy of recognition as well, but with a lack of vested interest from many music fans to dive below the surface, the onus often falls on the elders to sell records.
Foo Fighters are one such band, a gritty light in the increasingly ‘dark’ landscape of mainstream rock and roll. They’ve been at it for a remarkably long time, keeping their place atop the throne even while others around them have faded. Rather than transition away from their old sound in the hopes of attracting younger listeners, Dave Grohl and Co. have always stuck to their hard-rocking guns. But their newest release, Concrete and Gold, shows small signs that they might be changing their philosophy.
Part of this can be chalked up to the fact that the Foos’ tabbed Greg Kurstin to produce the abum, who’s made a name for himself working with artists such as Adele and Pink rather than Green Day or Metallica. Thanks to Kurstin, the sound of the album moves away from the band’s signature hybrid of garage and stadium rock, instead taking on more of a grandiose tone.
Many songs on Concrete and Gold are still very Foo Fighters-esque, however, with songs like “La Dee Da” and “The Line” succeeding through raucous energy, fuzzy guitars and Grohl’s gritty vocals. Others bear noticeable differences; ‘The Sky Is A Neighborhood’ comes with an indie groove similar to Imagine Dragons cranking up the amps, while the swirling outro track “Concrete and Gold” brings to mind a spaced-out acid trip reminiscent of Pink Floyd or Grateful Dead.
All in all, Foo Fighters managed to do the impossible on this album: create 11 old-school tracks that allow room for refreshing modern elements that fit the current landscape. Perhaps this will set a trend for the rest of the genre, warming up to the idea of blending musical generations now that it’s been done by one of rock and roll’s premiere bands. Perhaps that will persuade the younger demographic to open their eyes to the rich style of music — a shift that would certainly pay off down the road. Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards, but it helps when you have such legendary talents to fall back on.