There is Nothing Left to Waste
4 Out of 5 Stars
The Foo Fighters have always been an enigma to me; One of America's finest rock bands, featuring one of the world's best rock drummers (and allegedly one of the nicest guys in rock and roll), but plagued by inconsistent writing and often albums to similar to each other to really stand out. Their last studio album, "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace" seemed to address the issue by tweaking things texturally, but I think Dave Grohl may have gotten a shot in the arm after hanging out with Them Crooked Vultures and Queens of The Stone Age. "Wasting Light" sounds like a bandwide epiphany, a Foo Fighters album that rocks and rocks hard, along with their most fully consistent set of songs since the breakout "The Colour and The Shape."
"Wasting Light" is a big guitar album, be it the jittery start (Beastie Boys' "Sabotage," anyone?) on "Bridge Burning" or the stuttering echo of the initial single, "Rope." And despite opening the album with a song titled "Bridge Burning," much of "Wasting Light" sounds like that's exactly like what the Foos are doing. It's a stunner to hear Grohl sing in a world weary voice (on "These Days") lyrics about trying to get over past pains, then suddenly breaking into a roar of protest.
"Easy for you to say!
Your heart has never been broken,
your pride has never been stolen.
Not yet, not yet!"
Elsewhere, old friends are kicking in. Pat Smear comes back for the first time since TC&TS, Husker Du and soulmate Bob Mould adds a convincing snarl on "Dear Rosemary," and even old Nirvana band-buddy Krist Novoselic brings his bass out of retirement for "I Should Have Known." That particular song just happens to be the most contemplative number on "Wasting Light," as if Grohl and Krist were saving their collective empathy for all this time.
The same is not true for "White Limo," a screaming, distorted punker. Even with all the guest shots and shifting sounds, "Wasting Light" sounds like a band in full-cohesion. If you don't get the chills from listening to "Walk," where the band tears through a personal rebuilding process that hits a climax with Grohl repeatedly shouting "I Never Wanna Die!" before concluding "I'm learning to walk again, I believe I've waited long enough." "Wasting Light" is loaded with that kind of rock and roll redemptive spirit. Easily one of 2011's best, if not the best rocking album of the year.