Review Summary: But Here We Are is going to deliver the best Foo Fighters to fans who have given them their loyalty, and it is also going to delight and surprise those who haven’t given them the time of day.
Letting go and moving on is never easy. They say it takes about a year for the grieving process to take its course- so they say. For alternative rock group, Foo Fighters’ But Here We Are begins the process of grieving from the united front and shares the mourning with their audience who have supported them for more than 27 years. Outside the passing of long-time band member and drummer Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters’ newest release pays tribute to frontman Dave Grohl’s mother, Virginia Grohl as well. But Here We Are is a tender undertaking recorded to put the band’s healing on full display in the only way they know how: rock and roll. It is on this album where we see a forward attack on the band’s feelings in coming to grips with moving on from someone who has played a vital role in the band’s success, and the result is a sentimental and honest experience that wears its heart on its sleeve.
The band’s newest release begins with “Rescued,” which is a classic Foo Fighters track through and through with its punchy sound coming from deep rooted rock guitar riffs and hard-hitting, focused drums. This sound continues in the following tracks, “Under You,” “Hearing Voices,” and title-track, “But Here We Are.” These songs are geared towards maintaining the integrity in their earnestness by reaching for the classic sound that has carried Foo Fighters throughout their career. The songs capture songwriting successes through catchy vocals with sincere lyrics, dazzling instrumental passages including groovy bass lines and fuzzy guitar riffs, and a well rounded mix to complement the songs’s compositions. A few shining moments include “Nothing At All” that keeps it nice and simple with an enchanting drum beat, great vocal performance from Grohl, and a beautiful and explosive chorus with a proper buildup from previous sections. The beauty in this song lies in its simplicity and ability to deliver its message effectively without overdoing itself. Another fantastic instance comes from the record’s 10 minute (what might as well be) prog-rock track, “The Teacher.” A song dedicated to Grohl’s mother and overall emotions on the act of grief, “The Teacher” features creative songwriting with various takes on the refrain, a “Part 1/Part 2” composition, and mystifying style changes throughout the sections. The album’s closer, “Rest” is a proper finish to a project that’s main goal was to deliver Foo Fighters in an honest canvas. The first half of the song begins with a stripped down production of Dave Grohl’s soft singing and gentle guitar fluttering underneath. It isn’t until halfway throughout the song where distorted synths explode onto the track and the production is picked back up, all while still effectively maintaining the song’s sway-style groove.
Outside the songs that were able to encompass the passion and meaning of the band’s sorrow, songs “The Glass” and “Beyond Me” broke the momentum that songs before and after were building. “The Glass” is your all-in-all alt-rock song down to the T from the standard vocal melody, consistent down strums from the guitar and clean guitar notes gently picking out the melody. The chorus is a bit stale with not a lot of color in comparison to the nature of the record and the instrumental break with a featured guitar solo is washed from anything exciting or meaningful. The ballad (so-to-speak) on the record, “Beyond Me,” reiterates the album’s theme of loss and grief through awkward sounding transitions to various sections as well as a classic rock guitar solo that ends so abruptly with no resolution. The simplistic approach to this track might’ve been the one element that acts as its own Achilles heel.
All things considered, But Here We Are features some very solid songwriting from the band and it is something that they should be proud of. It’s not easy to lose someone who has been close to you for countless years and this album does a great job of exploring some very serious themes about moving on in the best way that Foo Fighters can deliver. Greg Kurstin producing the album adds for further charming production sequences without sounding too over the top, a choice I most respect in the given setting. There are a few bumps and bruises that come with this latest release but that’s something that I come to expect, and in a weird sense, something I look forward to as it causes the songs that shine to really glow. The standard alt-rock sound might be a little presumptuous at this point but I’m fairly satisfied with the direction Foo Fighters decided to take on this cut instead of going in for the miserly record release. Is it perfect? No. But Here We Are is going to deliver the best Foo Fighters to fans who have given them their loyalty, and it is also going to delight and surprise those who haven’t given them the time of day.