Review Summary: Taking enough time to really think out an album is really all it takes to make it excellent...if you're Foo Fighters
The album opens by lighting the fuse to a series of what I am going to refer to as 9 miniature masterpieces and two really good songs. "Bridge Burning", the first track, gives you a good idea of what to expect from the rest of the album. Here is a short list of recurring themes throughout the album: Incredible performance, innovative songwriting, and powerful rhythms and melodies. These guys have been doing this a long time, and it is really nice to see that fire still burning. Setting the songwriting aside, it is easy to tell that everything is extremely well thought out. As a musician, it is easy to appreciate well placed background instruments, multitudes of guitar effects effects, and interesting transitions and fills, which there are a lot of throughout the tracklist. The singing is also quite exceptional. Very on point, and very powerful vocals, coupled with interesting lyrics really kick things off in Wasting Light.
As far as I understand, "Rope" (the second track) is the big hit on this album. I completely disagree, with the argument that it is one of many. As aforementioned, this song shares the same awesome qualities as the last. Perhaps it is is slightly more catchy than some of the other songs. Dave Grohl even went on Howard Stern's show promoting the song. Not much to say about that though, since it only led to the discussion of how Rope was a slang term for ejaculate (e.g. ZZ Top's "Pearl Necklace"). If you think about it when you listen to the song it makes sense most of the time. The silliness here is still greatly out-shined by an impeccable song.
Most of the songs on the album are what you would generally expect from these guys. In addition to great qualities they all posses most of them have a lot of similar themes. With the exception of "White Limo", and "I Should Have Known", they are all upbeat and have a very rock genre theme. Being a metalhead, I think "White Limo" is really outstanding. I have to admit though, I kind of have my poker face on about the singing. It's kind of hard to know if they were taking themselves seriously when they decided on screaming incoherently for almost the entirety of 3:22. The song itself is really amazing though. It's what I would like to hear from a lot of metal nowadays. You can consider it a small little gem within the album.
On the contrary, other people seem to be in love with "I Should Have Known." It is a more vocally dominated song, but of course that it only made possible by the subtlety of the instruments. As far as I can tell, people seem to like this song more because they are interested in it's meaning. I'm going to go ahead and say that I think this is the one song that is just really good and not incredible. It's really just because it just repeats itself too much and doesn't feature enough depth and complexity as the other songs. Keep in mind that when I reference complexity, it is complexity in addition to absolutely perfect placement. That is what the album is all about. Everything is put in such perfect position that the simplest of songs sound so much different from what you would get from any other band.
The only song I really wasn't sure about was "A Matter Of Time." It feels like they couldn't decide on what they wanted to do, like a combination of two or three really good riffs from completely different songs. Like some guy is going to come in at each transition and shout "DJ Reeeemiiiiix!" <-that was supposed to be silly, but silly is how the song feels at some points.
Both "These Days" and "Walk" have mellow themes, and they are placed well in the album so that they certainly add to it as a whole. My favorite songs on the album are "Rope", "White Limo", and "Arlandria" and that's probably simply because they fit my preferences. "Bridge Burning" and "Dear Rosemary" are also notable mentions. The two songs I didn't mention are "Back & Forth", and "Miss The Misery"; neither were lacking, I just have nothing to say about them that I haven't already said about the others in general. This is definitely one of my favorite rock albums, and my absolute favorite album from Foo Fighters. It was indeed excellent.