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Rock - Released February 5, 2021 | RCA Records Label

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Time is not on the side of any arena-dwelling alt-rock rock band celebrating its 25th anniversary. Hey, survival is itself an accomplishment: Bands don't hang around for ten minutes, let alone ten years, unless they have consistently activated the pleasure receptors in lots and lots of brains. But the minute a band as an operation begins to market its gold-watch milestones, 25 years of loyal service and all that, the next release inevitably becomes a referendum on relevance. That's where the erstwhile Foo Fighters find themselves as they launch the alternately raucous and meticulously arranged Medicine at Midnight. The band's tenth studio album was completed in March of 2020, and was intended as the centerpiece of an elaborate 25th anniversary tour. Both were derailed by the pandemic. So here we are in Foo Year 26, contemplating what this band—revered by some for its snappy hook-abundant songwriting, dismissed by some as pop candy peddlers with fine tattoos—has to offer the post-rock post-pandemic post-everything world. Start with the question of energy. The introductory splat/roar drum pattern of opening track "Making a Fire" comes at you feral and heedless, challenging stasis in all forms. Couple that beat with the industrial-strength guitar, and it becomes a provocation built on sonic abrasion, one that lives a billion miles from lockdown caution. But it's never exclusively that: When, on the disarmingly lovely pre-chorus, Dave Grohl asks "Are you afraid of the dark?" his voice is that of an art-rock trickster savoring the twists and turns of a game, not some aging belter making desperation plays for salvation. That character comes out later. And when it does, in the turbulent finale of "Waiting on a War" and a few other places, Grohl does not hold anything back. "Waiting," with its all-purpose almost generic question—"Is there more to this than that?"—addresses conflict in many forms, from the idylls of childhood to the mob at the Capitol (just wait, someone will splice together that footage using this as the soundtrack). The genius of this track is in its measured ramp-up, from the acoustic-guitar verses into the declarative refrain and then a surging, rampaging, brilliantly executed accelerando. As the tempo rises so does the menace in Grohl's pre-shredded voice, and that, in turn, transforms the question into a taunt, a mantra, then finally a pulse-quickening showdown with the existential abyss. That track and a few others—the Bowie-influenced "Shame Shame," the prog-metal "No Son of Mine"—suggest that this veteran band is still immersed in creative exploration. And even when making those highly bankable familiar Foo Fighter noises, they do so in inventive ways, veering away from the predictable on eight out of the nine tracks. The throwaway is the numbing anthem "Love Dies Young;" in a veteran move, it's helpfully placed at the album's end, making it easy to skip. © Tom Moon/Qobuz
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Rock - Released July 19, 2021 | RCA Records Label

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 30, 2009 | RCA Records Label

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Rock - Released April 8, 2011 | RCA Records Label

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Rock - Released May 20, 1997 | RCA Records Label

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Rock - Released September 25, 2007 | RCA Records Label

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It's not quite right to say that the Foo Fighters only have one sound, but why does it always feel like the group constantly mines the same sonic vein? Even on 2007's Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace -- their sixth album and first with producer Gil Norton since their second, 1997's The Colour and the Shape -- the Foos feel familiar, although the group spends some palpable energy weaving together the two sides of their personality that they went out of their way to separate on 2005's In Your Honor, where they divided the set into a disc of electric rockers and a disc of acoustic introspection. Here, the Foos gently slide from side to side, easing from delicate fingerpicked folk (including "Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners," an instrumental duet between Dave Grohl and guitarist Kaki King) to the surging, muscular hard rockers that have been the group's modern rock radio signature. Echoes never lingers too long in either camp, as it's sequenced with a savvy professionalism that only veteran rockers have. That sense of craft is evident in all the songs, whether it's the subtly sly suite of the opening "The Pretender" -- after a slow build, it crashes into a crushing riff into a chorus, building to a typically insistent chorus before taking a slightly surprising bluesy boogie detour on the bridge -- or the sweet melodic folk-rock "Summer's End," a song as warm and hazy as an August evening. "Summer's End" is one of the unassailable highlights here, and all the rest of the truly memorable tunes on Echoes share its same, strong melodic bent, particularly "Statues," a wide-open, colorful anthem that feels as if it's been resurrected from a late-'70s AOR playlist. These songs place the melody at the forefront and also have a lighter feel than the rockers, which are now suffering from a dogged sobriety. For whatever reason, Dave Grohl has chosen to funnel all of his humor out of the Foo Fighters' music and into their videos or into his myriad side projects. When Grohl wants to rock for fun, he runs off and forms a metal band like Probot, or he'll tour with Queens of the Stone Age or record with Juliette Lewis. When it comes to his own band, he plays it too straight, as almost every rocker on Echoes -- with the notable exception of "Cheer Up Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)," a song that has a riff as nimble as those on the Foos' debut -- is clenched and closed-off, sounding tight and powerful but falling far short of being invigorating. They sound a little labored, especially when compared to the almost effortlessly engaging melodies of the softer songs, the cuts that feel different than the now overly familiar Foo signature sound. And since those cavernous, accomplished rockers are so towering, they wind up overshadowing everything else on Echoes, which may ultimately be the reason why each Foo Fighters album feels kind of the same: Grohl and his band have grown subtly in other areas, but they haven't pushed the sound that came to define them; they've only recycled it. Since this is a sound that's somber, not frivolous, the Foos can sometimes feel like a bit of a chore if they lean too heavily in one direction -- as they do here, where despite the conscious blend of acoustic and electric tunes, the rockers weigh down Echoes more than they should, enough to make this seem like just another Foo Fighters album instead of the consolidation of strengths that it was intended to be. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 14, 2005 | RCA Records Label

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Rock - Released July 4, 1995 | RCA Records Label

Essentially a collection of solo home recordings by Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters' eponymous debut is a modest triumph. Driven by big pop melodies and distorted guitars, Foo Fighters do strongly recall Nirvana, only with a decidedly lighter approach. If Kurt Cobain's writing occasionally recalled John Lennon, Dave Grohl's songs are reminiscent of Paul McCartney -- they're driven by large, instantly memorable melodies, whether it's the joyous outburst of "This Is a Call" or the gentle pop of "Big Me." That doesn't mean Grohl shies away from noise; toward the end of the record, he piles on several thrashers that make more sense as pure aggressive sound than as songs. Since he recorded the album by himself, they aren't as powerful as most band's primal sonic workouts, but the results are damn impressive for a solo musician. Nevertheless, they aren't as strong as his fully formed pop songs, and that's where the true heart of the album lies. Foo Fighters has a handful of punk-pop gems that show, given the right musicians and songwriters, the genre had not entirely become a cliché by the middle of the '90s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 15, 2017 | RCA Records Label

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Now 48 years old, Dave Grohl seems to have reached a turning point in his career. A decisive one for the future. After receiving a well-deserved Legion of Honour for playing the drums for Nirvana he recorded the first album of the Foo Fighters in October 1994, six months after Kurt Cobain committed suicide. More pop but as untamed as the music of the band that made him famous, this start didn’t fail to impress. Gradually however, album after album, this rock’n’roll drawing from punk slowly smoothed out the edges to approach often very commercial radio tunes. To the point of Grohl and his crew filling out stadiums after stadiums with a rather complacent original soundtrack… With Concrete And Gold, it is clear the Foo Fighters took the time to reflect on their evolution. In the media, their leader even pulled out a mouth-watering marketing tirade: “this album is a Motörhead version of Sgt Pepper!”. And it must be said, what happened within our ears was something not too dissimilar to this description. Especially because Paul McCartney himself is involved on one of the titles! Indeed the former Beatle plays the drums on Sunday Rain. Other unexpected guests were invited to this metal-pop orgy: Justin Timberlake on Make It Right, Shawn Stockman from Boyz II Men on Concrete And Gold, Inara George from The Bird And The Bee on Dirty Water, Alison Mosshart from The Kills on La Dee Da and The Sky Is a Neighborhood, as well as saxophonist Dave Koz on La Dee Da! Much like Sgt Pepper’s patchwork cover art, this ninth Foo Fighters album goes in every direction. An orgasmic eclecticism carried by the traditional downpour of guitars, but also a more refined sense of pop melody than usual. Some songs are even testosterone-free to make way for rather delicious psychedelic illuminations… Mission accomplished for Dave Grohl in terms of ability to question and renew himself. © MD/Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 22, 2002 | RCA Records Label

One by One is the most accomplished album Foo Fighters have made, which isn't necessarily the same as the best. Picking up the clean, focused sound and attitude of There Is Nothing Left to Lose, One by One is gleaming hard rock: it may have a shiny production, but hits hard in its rhythm and its impeccably distorted guitars. Dave Grohl's songs often express (or at least suggest) tortured emotions in their lyrics, but the album doesn't hit at a gut-level; it's too polished for that. It's not a bad thing, since the band is damn good and the production is more focused than any of the Foos' previous albums. The problem is, Grohl's songwriting has slipped slightly. It's still sturdy and melodic, yet not as immediate or memorable. Nothing is as majestic as "Learn To Fly," haunting as "Everlong," gut-crunching as "Monkey Wrench," or even as boneheadedly irresistible as their contribution to the Orange County soundtrack, "The One". Instead, it all fits together and sounds good as a piece, without offering individual moments to savor. Not the worst tradeoff, of course, but it's hard not to wish that the songs stuck in your head the way they used to, even if the album is still enjoyable as a whole. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 9, 2014 | RCA Records Label

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Rock - Released November 2, 1999 | RCA Records Label

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Rock - Released November 1, 2006 | RCA Records Label

Given that the Foo Fighters released a double-album comprised of one electric record and one acoustic album, it's no surprise that they performed several acoustic concerts on its supporting tour. One of these, a stop at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, is documented on the 2006 live album Skin and Bones album, which culls 15 highlights from the show. Although the Foo Fighters are performing on acoustics and are buttressed by such guest musicians as Petra Haden and Dave Grohl's former Nirvana running partner Pat Smear, the band doesn't sound radically different here, nor do they reinvent their material: they merely play their music, culled largely from the last album plus the hits, with the skill of professionals and the heart of true believers, which makes this an engaging show if not necessarily a truly compelling one. Part of the problem is that the production is too crisp and clean, which only accentuates the group's seamless performances: there may be grit in Grohl's voice, but not in how it's recorded. This isn't a deal-breaker, but it makes an album that could have been special into one that is merely good. One for the fans, then. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Rock - Released October 18, 2019 | RCA - Legacy

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Rock - Released December 20, 2019 | RCA - Legacy

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Rock - Released June 25, 2021 | RCA Records Label

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 18, 2015 | RCA Records Label

Rock - Released November 23, 2015 | RCA Records Label

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Rock - Released November 6, 2020 | Hobo

Rock - Released December 13, 2019 | RCA - Legacy

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Foo Fighters in the magazine