After what seems like a lifetime since the album was delayed back in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foo Fighters have finally unveiled their 10th studio album Medicine at Midnight on 5th February 2021 via RCA and Roswell.
Recorded between October 2019 and February 2020, the album sees the Foo Fighters take quite an upbeat turn for the majority of the 9 track long journey. This is surprising considering the strange circumstances of its creation process; it took place in an old house from the 1940s in Encino, Los Angeles, and frontman Dave Grohl claims the sessions were definitely haunted by mysterious happenings. There’s video evidence, however due to a non-disclosure agreement with the owner of the house, the footage is not allowed to be shown.
Nevertheless, the band have still managed to capture an almost pop-dance vibe. Opener Making A Fire bursts in with drummer Taylor Hawkins‘ signature stomping funk beat, before almost gospel-like vocals drop in with the crunchy guitar riffs the band are most surely known for. This track is the king of singalong chorus, and would go down a treat at those festival sets we all fondly remember (*sniffles*).
The debut single from the album, Shame Shame is most definitely the most intriguing track on the collection for me; I feel like it’s actually something different and usual for the Foos. Musically sparse for the first half and almost verging on orchestral towards the end, it’s quite a uniquely written song for them. Cloudspotter is a pure groove wonderland, to begin with, and the cowbell is absolutely perfectly placed (who doesn’t love a cowbell?), but then it sort of trails off into the style of track we’ve heard from them a million times in places.
Most recent single release Waiting on a War suffers the same shortfall with simply sounding incredibly similar to what you’ve heard before from the band. It’s by no means a bad song, it kind of just makes me itch for it to take off a little earlier than it does (it kicks off at around 3’30 if you’re keen!). Title track Medicine at Midnight is yet another glimpse into the creative potential of some of the tracks on this album, some vocal prowess from Taylor Hawkins in the first verse were a nice addition to it, too.
Holding Poison has some really cool vocal harmonies throughout and this is where I think this band truly shine at what they do, as well as those signature, almost vintage guitar sounds from Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear. The ballad of the collection Chasing Birds is lyrically both clever and emotive simultaneously, but personally reckon it’s about a minute too long as a track.
Things weirdly pick back up for the closer Love Dies Young, and it’s the epitome of the upbeat dance-y feel they’ve gone for with this entire album, almost erring on the side of cheesy at points. I don’t particularly think I’d have picked this for the conclusion of my album, but I’m not Foo Fighters am I, so what do I know?
Overall, Medicine at Midnight is a truly solid release from a band that have been in the game for a spectacular amount of time; it’s got some experimentation, but keeps its feet firmly in the roots of classic Foo Fighters, which for some people is all they really want from them. If you’re diving into this album truly expecting something majorly different from them you might be slightly disappointed, but if you merely want a feel-good rock album to throw on, the band are ultimately the masters at what they do, and more power to them for it.
Listen to Medicine at Midnight below!
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