Foo Fighters
But Here We Are

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But Here We Are, Foo Fighters’ new and long-awaited album, is finally here, and if you read my two-and-a-half reviews for the four released singles, you’ll know I was really excited.

So, the last question remains: how good the album actually is.

Let’s talk about the sound first

The album was produced by Gregory Kurstin who also produced the two previous albums. You may remember him as he worked with some other big names (or brands, in some cases) – from Paul McCartney, Beck, to Pink and Adele. Heavy weights require heavy weights. Kurstin definitely delivered.

The sound is classic Foo Fighters. If they could trademark it, they probably would and should because it’s so distinctive you always recognise a Foo Fighters song. Anywhere. Anytime. After all, they’ve been around for over thirty years.

When I say classic, I mean it in every sense of the word. They don’t experiment much because it’s not needed – no massive sound walls or experiments of this sort. Dave Grohl knows they don’t have to invent the wheel.

However, there’s a change. Their sounds returned to basics, to be more straight-talking and less complicated – which correlates well with what the band claims, that the album is less naive and more mature.

Despite saying the sound is classic and experiments don’t happen, Foos definitely have a trick or two up their sleeve to spice things up.

One such example is ‘Show Me How’, a song I really enjoyed reviewing because it’s your classic Foo Fighters, it’s somewhat poppy, pop rocky, super close to indie rock and it works really well.

Dave Grohl also confirmed he plays the drums on the album which should put all hardcore fans at ease. What won’t make anyone happy and what you can hear is that the drumming is not what it felt like with Taylor behind the kit. Grohl is a good drummer but I lack the uniqueness Hawkins brought.

Themes, words, and lyrics – what the album is about

The album is very emotional. Grohl’s singing is intense and passionate compared to the previous few albums. As if something had to provoke him to use the heart again.

There’s been much said about Taylor Hawkins already and more will be said. A long-time friend of Dave, he is present in more than just one song and doesn’t surprise anyone. Since the band cancelled the South American tour in its middle, they’ve been trying to recover and the album reflects that in many aspects and songs.

There’s a lot of reminiscing.

A good example of missing someone, very likely Hawkins, is ‘Under You‘ since the lyrics say:

Someone said I’ll never see your face again
Part of me just can’t believe it’s true
Pictures of us sharing songs and cigarettes
This is how I’ll always picture you

Foo Fighters – Under You, verse 2

It also mentions listening to music and smoking so it has to be Hawkins. You can read more about the song and my analysis in the above-mentioned review.

‘Rescued’, which I talk about in the May Dispatch, only supports the idea of the main theme being about missing people who’ve passed away and trying to find a way back from mourning as it opens with 

It came in a flash
It came out of nowhere
It happened so fast
And then it was over

Foo Fighters – Rescued, verse 1

The song is a solid anthem material for any crowd, big or small. If you happen to go to any of their concerts, get ready, this will be huge.

We should also note that Grohl suffered a more personal loss since his mother passed away a few months after Taylor.

The album, though, offers positive vibes as well.

I’ve already touched on ‘Show Me How’, a song that’s about how our parents take care of us when we’re kids and how we take care of them when we become older and our parents are old.

It’s a unique song celebrating family and people you love. And as my review mentions, it’s Dave’s daughter, Violet, who accompanies him. It explains the song’s pop vibe.

On the album, Foos are no strangers to clichés and the chorus demonstrates it well:

Where are you now?
Who will show me how?
Where are you now?
Who will show me how?

Foo Fighters – Show Me How, chorus

This isn’t the best writing, there are better ways to express the idea behind the words. Though it does go well with what I said earlier – the album is more basic and straight to the point.

And then, there’s ‘The Teacher’, the longest song Foos ever released. It starts slowly as if humbleness was a thing when you want to rage and when the guitars explode, they leave you absolutely ecstatic.

‘The Teacher’ is about death and dying:

You showed me how to breathe, but never showed me how to say goodbye
You showed me how to be, but never showed me how to say goodbye

Foo Fighters – The Teacher, second part

But also about using the time we have to do something meaningful with it:

Try and make good with the air that’s left
Counting every minute

Foo Fighters – The Teacher, second part

The song could easily be two, instead, Foos decided to make it one and take the listener through many rock genres, from hard to indie.

One of my personal favourite pieces is ‘Beyond Me’. When I listened to it for the first time, it almost made me cry. Emotions.

After a piano opening, the song slowly, very slowly, builds to expand beyond the piano adventure to become a rock song but not hard.

‘Rest’ closes the album off. It starts as a guitar-led, instrumental piece but it breaks into a more sonic/distorted one in the middle – to resurface and emphasise the weight that’s put on you when your closest people die:

Rest, you can rest now
Rest, you will be safe now

Foo Fighters – Rest, chorus

In Grohl’s case, it’s not just Taylor and his mum, I bet you any money he finally came to terms with the passing of Kurt Cobain, one of the most formative voices of his career.

A powerful song with an even more powerful finish.

To sum Foo Fighters’ But Here We Are 

It’s a good album, that’s for sure. You want to listen to it, you will listen to it in the future. It delivers. In some cases even overdeliver.

It’s classic Foos with some upgrades but still returning to something I call good old rock music but it’s really just good rock music that’s not spoiled with too many layers, is honest, and does what rock music should – rock!

Worth your time, you’ll be listening to the album a lot. Foos will be playing a lot of the songs live and I can’t wait.

Written by Vinklarek on

Petr 'Pete' Vinklárek writes mainly about music. Prior to entering the digital industry, he taught Translation Studies & British and American Cinema at a university. In his spare time, he hikes, listens to podcasts, watches films, and writes poetry. Petr studied the English Language and Literature at The University of Ostrava; his master’s thesis covered some aspects of Warren Zevon's work.

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