Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight
Few bands over the past 26 years or so have been as reliable and prolific as Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters. During this time the frontman has become rock’s favourite uncle: pals with everyone from Rick Astley to Billie Eilish. New albums – like their latest, Medicine at Midnight – are no longer the events that they might have been at the turn of the millennium, when they were one of the biggest acts in the world. But, they’re dependable moments when a few more catchy tunes can be added to an already impressive canon. Although Grohl has billed this project as something more – a reinvention even when describing it as a disco record – it very much sticks to the group’s tried and tested template of writing neat, accessible, American rock songs.
In one sense that’s not a bad thing. Tracks like No Son of Mine and Shame Shame will undoubtedly get fans singing along to Grohl’s distinctive vocals, with the former also possessing a powerful Motorhead-like riff that should get spectators headbanging when the band is able to tour again. Cloudspotter does have something of a groove to it but again becomes recognisably Foo Fighters by its chorus – while clearly owing a debt to Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. Waiting On A War is understatedly anthemic, and everything else does little to undermine the ensemble’s hallmark of rock quality.
Yet, that’s also a hint of blandness, with its title track standing out as the only song that really lives up to the promise of reinvention and experimentation. It’s a strange dreamy number with echoes of David Bowie’s early 80s Let’s Dance era and an example of what a proper Foo Fighters genre transformation might sound like – combining classic wailing guitar riffs with an ostentatiously funky rhythm section.
The rest does not make for a bad record, and longtime devotees will find much to like. Overall, it’s just that it adds little to their legacy after more than two decades of Grohl and his bandmates showing that they know how to construct radio-friendly alternative hits. It would have been nice to hear more of the eclectic taste the frontman has displayed in other pursuits (like his filmmaking) and by often bringing special guests on stage.
Medicine at Midnight is released on 5th February 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Foo Fighters’ website here.
Watch the video for Waiting on a War here: