Foo Fighters
Concrete and Gold


2.9
good

Review

by Arcade STAFF
September 20th, 2017 | 77 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pretend there’s nothing wrong, you can sing along with me.

In retrospect, I’m not sure what it was that I saw in Sonic Highways that made me give it near perfect marks; I praised it for operating on ‘greater echelons’ (I don’t know what that means,) said of Dave Grohl that he had ‘remarkably fresh style’ (he did wear a slick Morrissey shirt in the D.C. episode, it’s true,) and authoritatively claimed the album and project to be an, ‘innovative, concise… mid-career opus.’ Listening to it now, I hear none of that. Its first 2 songs, the lumbering “Something from Nothing” and perfectly formulaic “The Feast and the Famine,” no doubt stand out as some of Grohl’s and the Foo Fighters’ best material, with anything after overlong, underworked, and generally placid in demeanour and presentation. They weren’t bad songs necessarily, but coupled with a HBO documentary series that was never really much more than a HBO documentary series, it paled in comparison to Wasting Light, an obvious contender for best Foo Fighters album. In retrospect, I should’ve moved on from Sonic Highways quickly; it operated on lower turf, was remarkably conservative despite the palaver surrounding its promotional cycle, and far from the halcyon days of “Everlong” and “Learn to Fly.”

All of which leads me to a briefer still criticism of Concrete & Gold: it’s somehow no worse, no better, yet just as placid and ineffectual as anything on Sonic Highways, but an improvement still upon the laboriousness that plagued every song on that album. In essence, you should know what to expect, but let me explain it to you if you hadn’t already expected otherwise: Dave Grohl, every man’s everyman, a guy that wrote an album about John Kerry and featured Joe Walsh on another, assembles himself an album of references to 50 years of American rock music, replete with Shawn Stockman and Justin Timberlake, and ends up making a sinuous miasma of heavy metal, blues, and everything guitar-led. Grohl describes it as, ‘Motorhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper;’ a more apt comparison would be above-average radio rock with the needlessly weighty cloud of influence. Concrete & Gold is completely slathered in and suffocated by its pretence that it’s almost difficult to listen to at times, not least of all because most songs almost always default to mid-tempo, shout-y, almost melodramatic, ballsy balladry. It’s difficult to locate just when Foo Fighters became Grohl’s vehicle for radio rock nostalgia, but Concrete & Gold certainly represents its nadir.

Which is to say nothing of when Concrete & Gold works like a pre-2011 Foo Fighters album might actually work. “Run” is long, but it’s exhilarating, and its chorus is worth it. Ditto “The Sky is a Neighbourhood,” a typical Foo Fighters standard, made a notch above the rest by its atypically thundering groove. Otherwise, Concrete & Gold plays out in similar fashion for much of its duration. There are grooves, but they’re not worth. There are melodies, but you’ve heard them before. There’s Paul McCartney, but he’s barely a blip on “Sunday Rain,” as is the case for every other disparate name billed in the liner notes. And in all, it adds up to the sort of mangled formula of a Foo Fighters album that Sonic Highways fell prey to. Sure, the lyrics are better, the songs aren’t quite as boring, but it’s becoming harder and harder to defend this band on the charge of being dad rock. Grohl is literally making albums that are dedicated to the pantheon of music that your parents listened to and, while there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that, it tends to stack up as irrelevant or classist after a while. For what it’s worth, I don’t think the Foo Fighters have written their best songs yet, either; it just so happens that I envision those songs sounding nothing like this.




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user ratings (290)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
MercuryToHell CONTRIBUTOR (4)
The kings of playing it safe have a point to prove....

sugarcubes (3.5)
The Foo Fighters create 11 solid tracks of pure rock that won't reinvent the wheel, but which are be...

James Enwright (4)
Happy ever after, counting down to zero hour....

ajcollins15 (3)
Ummm...ya it's decent!...



Comments:Add a Comment 
sugarcubes
September 19th 2017


226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely disagree, but great review nonetheless

Digging: Duplicate Tape - Duplicate Tape

TheLeopardsFret
September 19th 2017


21 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Me too. I wasn't sure whether you liked Sonic Highways or not, as you wrote that long 4.5 review, but changed your rating to 3 and were kind of negative about it in your Saint Cecila review. But now I know you don't like it.

RaylanCrowder
September 20th 2017


64 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really well written review but Idk, while I do think you were overrating Sonic Highways a bit three years, I think you're also underrating this album a bit now

Digging: Sufjan Stevens - The Greatest Gift

Toondude10
September 20th 2017


11742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Definitely disagree, but great review nonetheless [2]

Digging: Machine Head - The Blackening

MrCoffee
September 20th 2017


44 Comments


Every Foo Fighters album should be rated between a 2.5 and a 3.

Lucifer
September 20th 2017


99 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Nah.



The Colour And The Shape and Wasting Light are outstanding.

neekafat
September 20th 2017


6964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[3]

Great review dude

SandwichBubble
September 20th 2017


5005 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Every Foo Fighters album should be rated between a ...[1.5] and a 3.

Digging: Bardo Pond - No Hashish, No Change Money, No Sake Sake

TonyJC
September 20th 2017


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorry, this is one of the better Foo records. Head and shoulders above Sonic Highways.

Sabrutin
September 20th 2017


4650 Comments


Yeah I'm surprised but I don't dislike it at all (first listen at least). T-Shirt rules

trackbytrackreviews
September 20th 2017


3343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Run is amazing but the rest of the album (specially the t/t) is so meh

Groundking
September 20th 2017


333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah this is miles better than Sonic Highways dude.

ProjectFreak
September 20th 2017


2252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

" a more apt comparison would be above-average radio rock with the needlessly weighty cloud of influence. "



This. Great review.

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 20th 2017


25179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well-written review. I enjoyed this a bit more than you but if I'm being totally fair, I have to admit that it also hasn't sounded quite as good on repeated listens. This will probably settle in the 3.0-3.3 range for me. Either way, for Foo, that's not an awful output.

Digging: Belle and Sebastian - How To Solve Our Human Problems Pt. 1

judgedeath2
September 20th 2017


36 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Disagree with the assessment (especially about Sunday Rain), but very well written. Diff’rnt strokes.





insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2017


4400 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They sound best when they leave aside any gimmicks or ballsy goals and play straightforward rock songs. I too believe they can still churn an excellent album, but I guess we have to wait some more time for it.

Digging: Wordclock - Heralds

trackbytrackreviews
September 20th 2017


3343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very much looks like wasting light was just a late career fluke

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2017


39518 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Dirty Water is surprisingly lovely

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

tommygun
September 21st 2017


26715 Comments


For what it’s worth, I don’t think the Foo Fighters have written their best songs yet, either


everlong came out 20 years ago brah

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2017


8502 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

i’m honored that whenever i do see tommy post, it’s on one of my reviews ♥️

Digging: Godflesh - Post Self



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