When in July 1995 the first work of Foo Fighters it was very tempting to look for answers in songs like “This Is A Call”, “Alone & Easy Target” o “Good Grief”. But you had to read between the lines and use your imagination to find in those mysterious lyrics by a young Dave Grohl some reference to the tragic death of his beloved Kurt Cobain and the subsequent dissolution of Nirvana.
The present “But Here We Are”, almost three decades later, is also marked by the loss of loved ones, and the mazado was double. First it was the unexpected death of his great friend Taylor Hawkins, drummer of the band since the presentation of the second album, and a few months later that of his mother, Virginia. However, now Grohl no longer hides his feelings in metaphorical phrases; here are reflections out loud and clear messages addressed to those who are no longer here. Another difference with respect to the debut: he is no longer alone. Foo Fighters they are a family and together they had to overcome these blows.
In the first preview of the album, “Rescued”we already find clear references to Taylor’s sudden departure on tour (“It happened so fast, and then it’s over”) and the healing power of music (“We’re all free to some degree / to dance under the light / I’m Just waiting to be rescued / Bring me back to life”). And that will be the tone of this powerful rock album, brimming with emotion, affected but positive, positive despite everything.
“Under You”a stupendous melodic whiplash from the Bob Mold (Hüsker Dü, Sugar) school, rightly chosen as the second lead, also evokes the figure of the drummer with blond hair and the enormous smile, with whom he shared so much and whom they will never forget (“Pictures of us sharing song and cigarretes / This is how I’ll always picture you”).
These first two singles surprised for good because of their punch and freshness, something that some of us had missed in the adventurer “Concrete and Gold” (2017) and the danceable “Medicine At Midnight” (2020). And it is that, although the co-producer of those two ambitious works, Greg Kurstin, curiously repeats himself, this eleventh studio album by the Foos is more similar as a whole to the “There Is Nothing Left To Lose” from 1999 that they recorded themselves in their garage with the help of Adam Kasper and even the last great album of the sextet, the varied and impeccable “Wasting Light” from 2011.
The record continues with a dreamy half-time like “Hearing voices”, which starts and ends with an acoustic, and the cut that gives the album its name, four minutes of pure guitar epic with Grohl’s throat in the foreground doing his thing. And then it’s the turn “The Glass”, the possibly ‘radiofriendly’ song on the album, also one of the hardest and at the same time beautiful songs written by the band. Life is like that, precious and fragile like glass (“I had a person I love / And just like that, I was left to live without him”).
There are more enjoyable songs, but if there are two truly cathartic (and somewhat therapeutic) compositions, these are “Show Me How” y “The teacher”, although they are almost antagonistic. The first is a powerful and luminous ballad with a shoegazer blast in which Violet Grohl participates with heavenly choirs that embrace and seek the comfort of her father (“I’ll take care of everything from now on”). For his part, “The teacher”unequivocally dedicated to Virginia, is an amazing opera grungy in between The Cure and a multi-act Pink Floyd culminating in an eerie “goodbye” thrown into an abyss of white noise.
close the disk “Rest”a sad acoustic piece like that “Marigold” which Grohl composed while still in Nirvana, and again says goodbye to his best friend and his mother (“Rest, you can rest now / Rest, you’ll be safe now) but with a heartbreaking see you later (“In the warm Virginia sun, there I will meet you”).
The Foos leave no aspect of their albums to chance, and that pristine white cover is no exception. It makes perfect sense if we understand that making music based on suffering has a purifying effect. In any case, we can only thank you for so much truth. Title “But Here We Are” can not be more eloquent. This hurts, but there they continue and will continue.