I remember the first song I heard from the Foo Fighters. It was ‘Big Me.’
I hated it.
I said, “This is what we’re going to get from the remnants of Nirvana?” I wasn’t encouraged.
A couple of years later, ‘The Colour And The Shape’ was released and one day while I was driving home from work, I heard ‘Everlong’ and I said, “Holy s**t!” Literally. It was that great. I’ve been a fan ever since (the debut album actually has some really good songs). When ‘Wasted Light’ came out a couple of years ago, I thought it was their best effort. It was just a great collection of songs and that they recorded it using tape instead of digital means they didn’t have much room for error.
‘Sonic Highways’ is their new album, scheduled to be released on November 10. I have only heard the first single, ‘Something From Nothing’ but it is already one of my favorite songs from Foo.
They way they put this album together is really kind if unique and one which I think is great. It is a method that kind of forces creativity through limitations and sometimes limitations can be liberating. Whether its lack of equipment or lack of time, the creative process is sometimes enhanced through those limitations. In this case, time was the factor for the band.
‘Sonic Highways’ will contain eight songs, recorded in eight different studios in eight different cities. None of it was written beforehand. The band recorded the songs as they spent time in this cities. There is a complimentary eight HBO mini-series, directed by frontman Dave Grohl, where it shows the bands going into these cities and recording the songs. Dave also interviews musicians, producers and others involved in that city’s music scene. The first city is Chicago, so Dave interviewed people Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick (who plays on the first single), Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt and more. Here’s the HBO preview:
If any of you know how studio recording works, it takes weeks just to lay down the drum tracks (usually first) before moving on to bass then guitars, vocals and then bringing everybody back for solos, fills, etc. In this case, they had just seven days to do all of that. The most challenging aspect of it was Grohl wrote the lyrics for each song last. The lyrics came from the interviews he did with the people you see on camera. For example, in ‘Something From Nothing’ you hear the lines, “button on a string” and “looking for a dime and found a quarter” — those are actual quotes from Buddy Guy that Grohl integrated into the song.
The song itself is not simple. It’s a pretty long, complicated track that progresses slowly before reaching this crescendo where you have four guitars playing chords and playing them big. Here’s the video of ‘Something From Nothing’ from the concert they gave last night after the premier of the HBO series (skip to 1:23 if you don’t want to hear Dave blather):
Here is the studio version:
I’m looking forward to the rest. The album will be released on November 10th.