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August 5, 2021
Ithaca, NY | 63°F

Life & Culture

Review: Foo Fighters maintain its usual sound

Medicine at Midnight

RCA Records Label

Foo Fighters probably won’t be making any new fans with its 10th studio album, “Medicine at Midnight.” It is shamelessly a Foo Fighters record — loud, fun and awesome. Fans will love it to death, and everyone else will be left with their ears ringing and their heads shaking, which is both a good and a bad thing.

The band had planned to celebrate its 25th anniversary with the album release of “Medicine at Midnight” and a tour visiting cities that the band toured through in 1995, all before COVID-19 stopped the Fighters in their tracks. Having performed a sorrowful yet timely rendition of its song “Times Like These” on Saturday Night Live in November and more recently at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, “Medicine at Midnight” was ripe for release Feb. 5.

If there is one thing to respect about Foo Fighters, it is its reliability. “Medicine at Midnight” is a solid album with entertaining tracks, similar to many of the band’s previous albums like “One by One” and “Wasting Light.” Although there isn’t much new that Foo Fighters bring to “Medicine at Midnight” — especially lyrically — there is still much fun to be had.

The album stumbles out of the gate with the exceptionally cliche song “Making a Fire.” While the other eight tracks on the album at least retain the band’s tremendous sound, “Making a Fire” is squeaky clean and sounds fresh out of an insurance commercial. The repeated “na-na-na” chorus and stale guitar riffs are incredibly overused and out of date, making for a painful opening.

It’s not until its third track, “Cloudspotter,” that “Medicine at Midnight” figures itself out. “Cloudspotter” gives listeners the abrasive, grunge high they look for in a Foo Fighters album. Dave Grohl, the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Foo Fighters, dominates the song with his mighty voice. 

The next song, “Waiting On A War,” is one of the album’s best. Led by crisp acoustic guitar chords and Grohl’s toneddown vocals, “Waiting On A War” has some of the album’s most well-balanced and finest production. 

Had this quality of production carried over into the album’s title song, “Medicine At Midnight,” it would have been a track to call home about. Unfortunately, “Medicine At Midnight” drowns its extraordinary guitar solo in an overwhelming and obnoxious chorus. The first half combines well-performed lyrics with mysterious percussion, building up to Pink Floyd-level guitar solo. The solo needs more room to breathe, free from the chorus that re-enters too quickly and swallows many of the notes it hits.

The rest of the album is pretty cut and dry Foo Fighters stuff. The album’s final few tracks flip between thunderous guitars and melodramatic lyrics that make for an entertaining, but uncreative, ending.

Because Foo Fighters is such an A-tier rock band, there will always be a market for its music. Performed live, the band’s sound will never fade. But rock albums that never die test new sounds, experiment with lyrics and create unforgettable guitar riffs, and “Medicine at Midnight” does not earn this achievement.