The Last Mixed Tape reviews Concrete and Gold, the latest studio album from Foo Fighters.
Whatever creative spark once inspired Foo Fighters early work is now a faint echo. As Dave Grohl and co. stumble further into irrelevancy with Concrete and Gold, you can’t help but feel awkward watching it unfold. A band once vibrant, full of ideas and at times flat-out fun, are now bone-crunchingly bland victims of their own success. Nine albums in and Foo Fighters just sound jaded.
In context, Foo Fighters have been spinning wheels for some time now. The success of One By One, coupled with the subsequent re-tooling of that record’s central formula on every album since has made Concrete and Gold the obvious conclusion to a long journey into creative oblivion. An end result that the group try their hardest to fight against (the album’s production does offer something new) but ultimately succumb to.
Indeed, the gimmicky recording concepts of Sonic Highways and Wasting Light have dried up and, try as hard as they might, the Foo Fighters can’t eradicate the rust that has taken hold. While previous outings have thrown up a single or two to save the day, Concrete and Gold doesn’t really have one. ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ (one such single release) comes off like a pandering, sing-a-long anthem that feels lackluster in its delivery.
That’s not to say Concrete and Gold is without merit. ‘Run’ has its moments, especially when the pastiche riff-rock comes tumbling in, and ‘The Line’ has enough bustling dynamism to make it stand-out. While ‘T-Shirt’ begins the album in a different and promising way. However, this is quickly abandoned for the safety of the tried and test quiet/loud/quiet formula.
And therein lies Concrete and Gold’s central problem… it’s all fine. The album just… exists, neither failing or falling in any meaningful way. In fact, the album’s major flaw is that we’ve heard all of this before and the law of diminishing returns has well and truly kicked in.
Sometimes it’s hard to decide which is worse, to be hated or to make no impression at all. For all the heavy-rock riffage, brooding and bluster, Concrete and Gold makes no lasting connection. Perhaps it’s only notable feature is that it may be the marker for when the Foo Fighters began to sound broke beyond repair. A forgettable record in almost every aspect.
Concrete and Gold by Foo Fighters is out now.