Right from the intro track, you can tell this album is going to be a mess of poorly-executed radio-rock clichés. Or rather, it foreshadows it, because the first half of the record is actually alright, with the singles ‘Run’ and ‘Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ revealing solid, if not a bit too safe, nods to the band’s past efforts.
But the song between them, ‘Make It Right,’ is terrible. To the point that I would say it’s the worst song they’ve ever made. ‘La Dee Da’ isn’t much better, managing to be political commentary without saying anything meaningful whatsoever (that’s a lyrical trend you’ll find across the entire record, by the way).
Another two songs that go together: ‘Dirty Water’ and ‘Arrows.’ Why? Because they both had so much potential; potential which was utterly decimated by ill-suited vocals and bizarre lyrics. ‘Dirty Water’ in particular has gotten a lot of positive feedback from hardcore fans, but make no mistake; it’s half of a below-mediocre jazz-rock song, followed by a section which isn’t half as good as it could have been (that’s a musical trend you’ll find across the entire record, by the way).
The introduction to ‘Sunday Rain’ contains the first good melodies you’ll hear on the record. The vocals remind me of late 90’s boy-bands, though. There’s a short solo halfway through the song, which is atrocious, followed by a really awkward drum fill which doesn’t fit with the refrain at all. There’s also a pointless piano solo at the end of this song. Because those are always great, aren’t they?
This album constantly sounds like it’s trying to be emotional without ever giving any reason as to why. The whole thing sounds like it should be part of a concept of some sort, but it’s not. It’s utterly trite. It’s generic riff after generic riff, always trying to sound moving, when it just ends up sounding whiny. Maybe one could argue that a band as rich and successful as the Foo Fighters has nothing left to cry about, so they couldn’t possibly seem genuine in their emotion. To those that make that argument, I’d like to ask how Pink Floyd, the band this album appears to worship, was able to create a sense of genuity in their songs despite being far richer and more successful than anyone in the Foo Fighters could ever dream to be.
The reverberating guitar in the eponymous (and final) track is quite interesting and cool, although it does sound like it’s too obviously nodding to the Wall. Too bad the rest of the song is so boring. Perhaps this song, (and some of the others, for that matter), would sound better to those that were unaware of all of the clichés that this shit-stain of an album is claiming for its own, but then why would that make a difference, considering how poorly-executed those same clichés are on this album, compared to literally any other band that has attempted them? It ends a short silence, followed up with a loud “FUCK YOU,” as if the record itself was not enough to get that message across to its listeners.
I have to give the Foo Fighters credit for trying to switch up their sound a tad, but they fail completely on this record. It seems that what Dave Grohl and the Other Ones™ think of as reinvention is nothing more than imitation.
Oh, and by the way; Dave described this record as “Motorhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper’s.”
What a fucking moron.
Photo Credit: NME.com / Press