Occasionally through grief, something good can happen. That is certainly the case for the Foo Fighters and their eleventh studio album, ‘But Here We Are’. Understandably, the passing of drummer Taylor Hawkins was a major loss for everyone connecting to the band, including their fans. For frontman Dave Grohl, he’s taken the emotional weight of losing one of his best friends, as well as his mother, Virginia, and written the band’s best album in years. The album is dedicated to both Taylor and Virginia.
The album’s pre-release singles offered plenty of optimism for ‘But Here We Are’, especially the opening pairing of ‘Rescused’ and ‘Under You’. Both individually highlight Grohl and company’s longstanding ability to produce powerful, soaring rock anthems. However, when it’s combined with grief-stricken lyricism, they’re able to take things to another level.
It’s no surprise that the fingerprints of grief, catharsis, and trying to move forward are found throughout the ten songs on ‘But Here We Are’. For example, on the wielding title track Grohl roars “I gave you my heart, but here we are”. Whereas ‘The Glass’ is a straightforward tribute to the brotherly love that existed between him and his former bandmate.
Musically, it’s tied together by a band’s need to express themselves, shaking off a mournful dark cloud simply by jamming together, creating sonic catharsis (see ‘Nothing At All’ and the sprawling 10-minute venture that is ‘The Teacher’). It’s balanced out by hauntingly beautiful moments such as the shoegaze-esque ‘Show Me How’, that sees Groh duet with daughter, Violet, providing a reflective moment of comfort and assuredness. While ‘Beyond Me’ leans on album-oriented rock (AOR) embracing a slow-burning and power ballad pacing, and ‘Hearing You’ has stylistic echoes of ‘There Is Nothing Left To Lose’.
Then there’s ‘Rest’, which is considerably Grohl’s rawest Foo Fighters cut. Hushed vocals, gentle acoustic strums, and tender words, it provides an insight into Grohl accepting the passing of his loved ones only to be interrupted by fuzzy distortion and the repeated line of “Rest, You will be safe now”. Chris Shiflett’s stirring guitar solo and Rami Jaffee’s subtly whirling keys, merely add to the cathartic release. As the sun sets on the album’s finale, Grohl assuringly sings “Waking up, I had another dream of us, in the warm Virgina sun, there I will meet you.”
As a band that started as a result of a tragedy, it is music that has continually pulled Grohl through tough times, and on ‘But Here We Are’, he’s done it again. However, this time he’s not alone. Alongside Shiflett, Jaffee, bassist Nate Mendel, and guitarist Pat Smear, Foo Fighters have united together to pull themselves out of the dark, determined to continue to be the rock greats they are.
Together they’ve created a career highlight that perfectly pays tribute to Taylor Hawkins and Virginia Grohl.
‘But Here We Are’ by Foo Fighters is released on 2nd June on Roswell Records/Columbia Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)