Although they emerged during the height of the alt-rock boom of the ’90s (out of the ashes of the genre’s defining band, Nirvana), the Foo Fighters have always been heavily indebted to classic hard rock and heavy metal. With Wasting Light the Foos strip away the stylistic diversity that marked their last two albums and deliver a balls-out rock record, including some of the heaviest songs of their career (not for nothing does the video for “White Limo” feature Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead). Coming on the heels of so many stylistic detours (including an entire disc of acoustic material on the 2005 double album In Your Honor), Wasting Light sounds like the work of a revitalized band, even if some of the songs have a tendency to run together.
- Wasting Light
- By Foo Fighters
The whole album has been designed for a raw, heavy sound: Former guitarist Pat Smear returns to the fold as part of a triple-guitar attack, and the songs were recorded on analog equipment in frontman Dave Grohl’s garage. Even “I Should Have Known,” the closest the album comes to a ballad, is thick with distorted guitars and pounding drums. “Bridge Burning,” “Rope” and “Miss the Misery” feature some of the best riffs Grohl has written in years, and producer Butch Vig (who was also responsible for Nirvana’s Nevermind, among other alt-rock touchstones) strips away any extraneous trickery and just lets the band cut loose. The heaviness never gets in the way of Grohl’s gift for a radio-friendly hook, and Foo fans will appreciate songs like “These Days” and “Back & Forth” for their ability to combine catchy choruses with thundering soundscapes. In some ways Wasting Light is a step backward for the Foos, but that step puts them right in the middle of what they do best.