The Foo Fighters top the Billboard 200 with their larger-than-life new album, Concrete and Gold

With Concrete and Gold, the Foo Fighters triumphantly return to the music scene.

By Laura Miserez | Oct. 5, 2017

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Acclaimed rock ensemble the Foo Fighters released their ninth studio album, Concrete and Gold, on Sept. 15. The album has already claimed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200. It is the band’s first new record since frontman Dave Grohl infamously broke his leg onstage during a concert in Sweden in 2015.

Overall, the time off appears to have been good for the group. Concrete and Gold is much tighter and more cohesive than its predecessor, Sonic Highways. However, this album also marks the farthest Grohl and the band have ventured away from their signature post-grunge rock sound, an experiment that occasionally feels forced.

The change can largely be attributed to producer Greg Kurstin. Kurstin is responsible for recent pop chart toppers such as “Chandelier” by Sia and “Hello” by Adele. Though Kurstin had never produced a hard rock record before, Grohl had been wanting to work with him since the two met while on vacation in Hawaii. In “The Making of Concrete and Gold,” a short animated documentary released the same day as the record on the Foo Fighters’ YouTube channel, Grohl says Kurstin is “so talented, it’s nuts.”

Concrete and Gold also features a variety of guest artists, something not commonly found on Foo Fighters records. Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake and Boyz II Men member Shawn Stockman are just a few of the artists that appear in the album. Their contributions are evident in the fleshed-out sounds of songs like “La Dee Dah” and “Make it Right.”

The album opener, “T-Shirt,” is a simple arrangement that strongly resembles an old-school rock ballad. It transitions seamlessly into “Run,” which perfectly blends together the Foo Fighters’ distinctive, raw rock riffs with Kurstin’s engineered melodies.

The remainder of the album is mostly formulaic Foo Fighters with a twist. Kurstin’s complex arrangements can occasionally make the music sound overproduced, as is the case with “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” and “Sunday Rain,” the black sheep of the album.

“Sunday Rain,” which features a drum track recorded by Paul McCartney, had the potential to be one of the album’s best. However, its psychedelic vibes and pop autotune make it sound out of place on a Foo Fighters record.

Overall, though, the album is a successful experiment and definitely worth a listen. The Foo Fighters prove that even after two decades in the music industry, they still have every right to be at the top of the charts.

Edited by Claire Colby | ccolby@themaneater.com

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