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Columbia, April 2011

(What’s this, Waffle invading the music section?!)

I pretty much like all of the Foo Fighter’s material, but I can certainly see where a lot of people have thought they’ve lost their way. Their last single released as part of the unnecessary Best Of, ‘Wheels’, was a bit crap I thought; awfully generic, no real soul, just simply taking up space and air time. But don’t fear; Wasting Light is fantastic.

‘Bridge Burning’ sets the whole thing alight as Dave Grohl not-so-subtly informs us “These are my famous last words!” Well, the next 48 minutes are going to be a bit dull then, aren’t they? Oh wait, that was just a lyric. Phew! Actually, Grohl is preceded by a build-up of instruments, from a tinny guitar layering up to include more guitar and drums. And then Grohl. And then it doesn’t really slow down for about 20 minutes. Which is fantastic!

‘Bridge Burning’ and ‘Rope’ are built on having mighty hooks. ‘Bridge’’s chorus is clever with a set of lyrics that starts then reverses, quite apt with the theme of collapsing bridges. ‘Rope’ focuses on a solo-filled break, but both play up to the Foo Fighters song-template pretty closely. They do, however, highlight how it can be used to work wonders. ‘Bridge Burning’ says nothing other than “Turn up the volume. Go on, do it. Do it now. Turn it up.” You can’t say no.

‘Dear Rosemary’ has what I can only describe as a bouncing guitar riff that retains a very strong rock essence without being over-powering and suitably backs up the lyrics, but ends up you’ll probably pay more attention to over anything else. It just sounds ‘right’. ‘White Limo’, on the other hand, cares not for subtlety or even understandable lyrics. In what is obviously a spiritual successor to ‘Weenie Beenie’ off their debut album, this is 3 minutes of Grohl screaming. Strong, punishing and relentless describes the band in the most head-banging track on the list. The only phrases I  could make out were “GOOOOOOOOOOO LIMOOOOOOOOOOOOO” and then before a break “YEAH…ALRIGHT!” It fits perfectly.

‘Arlandria’ bridges the tracks with something half-way between heavy and normal levels of rocking. The lyrics are definitely its strong point. The chorus will have you singing along to “You and what what army? / Arlandria / Arlandria” by the second time it comes round. The quiet-but-builds break and the general tone of the song make this a real winner for me.

Following is the filler. Definitely good filler, but as the three progress, they get less memorable. ‘These Days’ is more reserved and altogether quieter than anything before it, but picks up energy come the chorus. ‘Back & Forth’ doesn’t seem to have anything defining about it, apart from a chorus that seems quite jaunty. ‘A Matter Of Time’ has a more enthusiastic pace, but doesn’t really go anywhere with it, although it sounds like it belongs on a Foo’s album 10 years ago.

‘Miss The Misery’ is just a song that sounds out of place. ‘White Limo’ sounds different but still manages to fit, whilst ‘Misery’ sounds like it maybe belongs in the 80s. With its “Ohhhh ohhhh ohhh” opening, I feel like I’ve maybe stumbled onto Bon Jovi. The lyrics aren’t worth listening to and it maybe picks up nearer the end, but it’s more of a duff song than it isn’t.

No worries though as the quiet ‘I Should Have Known’ gives you a soft and different sound to engross yourself on, as anger throws itself out at you later on. ‘Walk’ concludes the list with a rising blast of sound. Unashamedly a rock ballad, especially highlighted with lyrics such as “Learning to walk again / Learning to talk again”, it produces a satisfying conclusion that leaves you yearning for more.

There is nothing original here. This is no invention of the wheel. It does, however, refine the process and create something near flawless. Filler is good, one song that will be hit or miss depending on your preference of music and plenty of ‘classics’ with a phenomenally strong first half. It makes a point of simply being enjoyable to listen to, start to finish. And then on repeat. Because it’s so damn good.

If you don’t want to buy it, the Foo Fighters were very generous in putting up the entire album to listen to. Hit up wastinglight.foofighters.com to enjoy this good sound.

2012 Update – Several of the videos from the album have been added that were not released at time of writing.

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