The Foo Fighters return this week with their highly anticipated eighth album, Sonic Highways. The album, which sees the Foo Fighters attempt to capitalise from their critically acclaimed 2011 album Wasting Light, is a concept album which is accompanied by an eight-part HBO doumentary that examines the history of music in the United States of America.
The idea behind the concept is that every week, the Foo Fighters visit a recording studio of a city that is renowned for its distinctive music style. The cities that they visited include: Chicago, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and New York. Dave Grohl interviews musicians that shaped the music scene of each city. From these interviews, Grohl takes the stories told and turns them into lyrics for the song at the end of each episode.
Grohl recruits legendary producer Butch Vig, to produce the album. This is the second time that he has teamed up with Vig, previously worked together on Wasting Light, as part of Foo Fighters, but his third in total when you factor in Vig’s role in the production of Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind.
The biggest hesitation for fans is that the concept might not be as solid as Grohl and co., believe it to be. Sonic Highways kicks off with the colossal sounding, Something from Nothing, which was recorded in Chicago, under the watchful eye of studio owner Steve Albini. It certainly continues the bang from Wasting Light, but sadly the album starts to somewhat fizzle out from this point onwards.
It is not that the album is weak in any sense of the word, it’s just that it does not live up to the high standard of the opening track. The album only contains eight songs, and there is an irking feeling to the listener that some of the songs are unnecessary long to compensate this issue. What’s the most interesting part of the album is that it fuses the older sound of the Foo Fighters (The Colour and the Shape days) with the sound they created with Wasting Light. This creates a nostalgia factor, with each song being a love letter to the history of music you can assume that this is not a mistake, which gives a nice nod to the fact that it is the Foo Fighters’ twentieth-year as a band.
Notable tracks: Something from Nothing, The Feast and the Famine, and I am a River.
Sonic Highways is out now in all record stores. The HBO Documentary is half-way through the series and airs every Friday night in the USA.