In simply relying on fundamentals, Foo Fighters don’t overthink and succeed in creating a work that shows the spirit of gritty human emotion through engaging and smart musical tactics, namely their harmony, and although there were some whiffs in adding strong musical ideas to their foundation, the result was still nice raw, humanistic emotion that stands out today in its ability to captivate.

As long as groups like Foo Fighters keep writing music, the spirit of gritty human emotion shown through engaging and smart musical tactics will survive. It’s a spirit that has unfortunately faded in recent years, as new musicians have not been as consistent in finding strong musical engagement when trying to be outright and humanistic, sacrificing good musical substance and structure for supposed uniqueness. This latest album by Foo Fighters, who in my opinion are the group that has best kept this spirit alive over the past 20 years, shows nothing too surprising or abstract, which was ultimately favorable. No overthinking, no attempt to gratify culture or anyone whining for something state of the art, and no sacrificing of their talent. Sometimes, if musicians don’t have a strong knowledge of musical tendencies or how to exactly play what’s in their head, overthinking and striving for modernization can be a great thing. That simply wasn’t needed here, with the musicians relying on their fundamentals and succeeding because of it. Their specific musical foundations are rooted in exciting, interesting, and driven harmonic progressions, which consistently used strong chord combinations to get the desired feeling of alluring simplicity. It reached a real height of quality in the middle of the album with the songs “La Dee Da”, “Dirty Water”, “Arrows”, and “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)”. Not to talk about the band’s history too much, but that has always been a massive strength for Foo Fighters. On this album, the melodies couldn’t quite match that level of drive and power even though given the room to do so, which made the work lose out on greatness. The melodies still had nice connectivity, understandable motion, and interesting enough shape to cement this as a solid work of music, all while maintaining the humanistic spirit. The timbre wasn’t necessarily as make-or-break of an element as the melody or harmony, since it really only had one job to do, which was to convey raw emotion through simple instrumentation, and it did quite well. The sound didn’t need its own personality as much as simple delivery of intent, since the overall creative songwriting and power of the harmonies played a stronger role in shaping each song. Some songs were a huge success in that regard, like the aforementioned middle of the album, and others whiffed a bit in finding the same appeal with musical ideas that simply didn’t work together as well, like in “The Sky is a Neighborhood” and “Sunday Rain”. It was these moments where the basic instrumentation didn’t do much to help and regressed a bit to a more run-down feel. There was a little too much whiffing here to produce a work of huge magnitude or importance, but the fundamentals of quality songwriting and strong delivery were always present. It’s a work that stands out in its ability to captivate among the many other popular works today of similar musical tactics and intent, reminding us that this captivation used to be more of the norm.

Melodic Intrigue: 37/50
Harmonic Creativity: 41/50
Timbral Effectiveness: 36/50
Intangible Influence: 25/30

Final Score: 139/180

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