Review Summary: The Foo Fighters release another album. The Foo Fighters release another average album. I probably didn't have to say the second part.
I’ve never really been a fan of the Foo Fighters. They’ve always seemed like a pretty good, pretty run of the mill rock band with some good singles and a good singer to me. I’ve listened to all of their albums at some point, and they all failed to really catch my interest, including the highly lauded The Colour & The Shape
. So, once again they put out a great lead single (this time, “The Pretender”) and I am unfortunately required by curiosity to give them yet another shot. What Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace
reminds me to do is next time, don’t bother.
The album is just standard rock/alternative affair. A new idea is really not present on here; in fact its like they encapsulated their previous double album to one disc hoping it would get rid of that fat that dogged that previous album. There are a large range of songs to listen to here…if a varied album to you means there are slow, mid, and fast tempo songs. There are rockers like “The Pretender” and “Cheer Up Boys (Your Makeup is Running)” which are easily the strong points to the album, as its obvious the boys are most comfortable here.
It when they try and go into a softer, more ‘introspective’ sound where the album really falters. Its as if they listened to a bunch of really bad 90s alternative-pop songs and decided it would be a good idea to bring all that back (along with a good dose of the ‘foo, of course…!). Grohl doesn’t have a pretty voice by any means, and even the songs where he transitions from crooning to shouting generally sound weak because of it. And it’s a very strange thing when one of your songs (in this case, “Stranger Things Have Happened”) sound more like a Stephen Lynch tune than a serious attempt at rock balladry.
Dave Grohl’s songwriting has just become stale. There is absolutely nothing interesting about this album structually. The closest it comes to being interesting is on “Let it Die” where he fakes an explosion of sound, retreats for a moment, and then goes through again even louder. Every song here relies on the basics of pop songwriting 101, and Grohl and company just don’t have enough catchy oomph to make it work for a whole album, let alone for whole career at this point.
Considering this is pretty much Grohl’s baby, something also of note is the fact that the lyrics underwhelm as well. Yeah, “Cheer Up Boys…” is actually a pretty neat satire on the “emo scene” of today, and its pretty cool to see him to do it. Then again, he comes up with such gems as “Meet me in the summertime/We can move the air/Sweet Virginia countryside/I will meet you there” which infest the album like a plague. Even on the “harder” tracks Grohl cant get himself out of wish washy and cliché nonsense, something he at least used to be able to attempt.
In the end, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace
really is just terribly mediocre and unexciting. Besides “The Pretender” and a handful of other songs that will probably be singles (“Summers End” which vaguely reminds of “Learn To Fly” and “Long Road to Ruin”), the album is extremely boring and uninspired. Its pretty much like any other Foo record; a boring album by a band that could be better. Listen to it if you’re a fan of the Foo, but don’t make it a priority if your not.