Friday, May 20, 2011

What You Should Have Heard #57

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Today's supposed to be a Video Constitutional day, but I'm in a Foo Fighters mood and wanted to post this CD review.

I was originally going to add this as an update to my earlier Foo Fighters Mix CD entry, but the latest release from Dave and company is just too damn good and it really means too much to me to just tack on to an existing post.

I think I will always remember the first half of 2011 as the half-year of the Foo Fighters. It’s either that or remembering it as the year my divorce was final. That’s just too depressing. But it does tie in to why I’m in love with this new CD so much.

So yeah, after being separated for just over a year, my divorce became final in mid-February, and my ex started dating someone shortly after that. It turned out to be a pretty stressful time for me. You might roll your eyes, but one of the things that helped get me to a point of acceptance was listening to Wasting Light over and over and over again.

The first full track to be released was “White Limo,” which was released as a video featuring Lemmy from Motorhead. I liked it, but it's not generally the type of Foo song that I like. It really brought back some of the raw energy from the first CD, which is my least favorite, and really, it's the least like any of the others. "White Limo" really makes me think of that album, especially the tracks "Weenie Beenie" and "Watershed," I guess just because of how lead singer Dave Grohl is singing. Not a big fan of the raspy singing, here. But overall I like the song better than either of the ones I mentioned. “Rope” was released as an actual single a couple of weeks later, and I liked it a LOT more.

Sometime in March, the Foos made the entire album available via streaming from their website. I listened, and I listened, and I listened. I listened to it at least once a day, sometimes twice. I was in love with it and thought it was the best CD the group had ever done. Later that month I fired up iTunes, which I hadn’t done in a LONG time, and pre-ordered the CD. This wasn’t something I was going to eventually get or try to find in a bin at a used CD store. Nor was I going to rip the streaming feed from their website. I was gonna pay my money and I was gonna have the music.

Also in March, the band revealed some dates for their tour in support of the album. The closest to me was in Memphis on a Friday night. And who happened to be one of the opening bands? None other than my current 2nd favorite band Biffy Clyro! So yeah, I had to go. I ordered tickets the minute they went on sale, and as I write this, I’m 24 hours away from getting in the car and heading to Memphis. So excited!

The week before the CD was released, the Foos released a documentary, Back and Forth, chronicling the rise of the band and the production of the new album with a live show simulcast to all the theaters afterward. I had planned to see it because it was screening in Franklin, TN, but my son had a baseball game that night that I didn’t want to miss. I was sad until I learned that it would be shown the following weekend on VH1, minus the concert. I learned some things about the group that I never knew, and seeing them at the end, everyone with their families at Dave’s house before they started working on Wasting Light, that was just really great. I will definitely be buying this when the DVD is released on June 14.

When the CD was released on April 12, I’m pretty sure I had it on rotation the entire day. That night the band performed their entire album for the concert series “Live on Letterman” in the Ed Sullivan Theater. I was able to watch it online during that week. It was such a treat to watch them paying homage to the Beatles (black and white, black suits with skinny ties, the way their name appeared on Taylor’s bass drum) and to get a glimpse of what I was in for when I finally got to see them live. A couple days later the group played the entire album from their home-built studio, Studio 606, and put it up on YouTube.

All through April I ended up listening to the CD every morning as soon as I got into work. The only song I’m not thrilled with isn’t even a regular album track, it’s the “Rope” remix that was included with the deluxe edition on iTunes.

This album really feels like the group took everything they learned from each of their previous albums smooshed all of that knowledge into this one. You can probably find a song that would feel right at home as a track on one of the earlier ones. But it doesn’t feel unconnected like a greatest hits CD does. It flows wonderfully from track to track, and it really keeps you engaged. Bypassing the oddity of the “Rope” remix, by the time the other iTunes extra “Better Off” is over, I’m always surprised when the music stops. Even if I’ve got it going as background music, I’m just so connected to it.

I mentioned earlier that my divorce ties in to why I love the CD so much. Listening to it and really hearing and understanding the lyrics helped me move toward accepting my situation. I’m not saying it totally got me out of my depression, far from it, but it helped.

I think I can pull out lyrics from every single song except for “White Limo” that mirrors my situation, from the break up, through the depression and questioning my decisions, and finally to acceptance. Having the CD end on “Walk,” a song that resonates as a theme for moving on after a difficult transition, was wonderful. A relationship that began when I was in high school 15 years ago has come to an end, and I’m unsure now of where that part of my life will take me, or even how to start that new chapter, that new journey. But “I'm learning to walk again/Can't you see I've waited long enough/Where do I begin?/I'm learning to talk again/I believe I've waited long enough/Where do I begin?”

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