Foo Fighters Release New Album “Concrete and Gold”
by Kenny Larson
Characterized by powerful guitars, intense lyrics, and occasional screams of enthusiasm, the Foo Fighters released their ninth album, “Concrete and Gold,” on September 15. Staying true to their usual style, the album is best summarized as a hard-rock, musical story describing the hardships and difficulties of life. The music and vocals were full of fervor, told individualized stories that resonate with the listener, and were full of vehement energy. That being said, this can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers especially if they have never truly experienced heavy rock music. As a result, the lyrics can sometimes be drowned out by the heavy backbeat and loud guitars. However, this is easily made up for by its consistently passionate, intense, and zealous lyrics that were omnipresent throughout “Concrete and Gold.” Though all of the album’s 11 tracks were creative in their own way, three unique songs in particular stood out as the most important.
Even though it was the shortest song on the album, “T-Shirt” is a great piece of music. The song progressively builds up from a slightly somber and soft tune into an energetic guitar solo. Strategically, this was a great way for new listeners to get accustomed to the style of music the Foo Fighters focus on. The catchy tune and simple transitions not only help to catch the audience’s attention, but also set a precedent for the rest of the songs. Behind the simple backbeat lies a hidden context; while the band’s creator, Dave Grohl, is known by fans to not be overly political, “T-Shirt” offers hidden insight into his own personal ideologies. Written shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration, “T-Shirt” raises concerns about the incoming president, with the lyrics “I just wanna sing a love song...Pretend there’s nothing wrong...You can sing along with me.” Though the song diverges from the overarching theme of “Concrete and Gold,” it still serves as a strong and powerful introduction to the album.
On another note, the fourth song, “The Sky is a Neighborhood” focuses on the hardships in life and difficulties that people face within their daily lives. While the band has been cited as saying that the song was a last-minute addition to the album, it nonetheless plays a crucial role in establishing the aesthetic and motif of “Concrete and Gold,” epitomized by amplified electric guitars and grunge rock. While slightly more dramatic than necessary, the song progressively builds up in intensity, culminating in a commanding refrain with a metaphorical connection to heaven and the universe. Though referencing heaven as “banging on the ceiling,” it rather represents both the physical and mental conflicts people endure within their lives, as the band makes a plea to “keep [the noise] down.”
One of the last and most iconic songs in the album reflects on the somber but encouraging aspects of life through the lens of creator Dave Grohl. The song “Concrete and Gold” (responsible for the album’s title), focuses less on the hard-rock style of music the band is known for, and more on infrequent guitar riffs and constant drum backbeats. The lyrics of the song tell two conflicting narratives: one of desperation and the other of a somber hope for a better future, some of which, according to the band, have subtle political undertones similar to “T-Shirt.” The song concludes with an allusion to the name of the album, with the lyrics “The world will never know, our roots are stronger than you know, up through the concrete we will grow.”
For long-time fans of the Foo Fighters, “Concrete and Gold” is a continuation of hard-rock and fervorous music that defined and allowed the band to gain its widespread popularity. For newer listeners of the group, the album most closely resembles alternative-style music with what can best be described as a powerful “kick.” For those interested in listening for themselves, “Concrete and Gold” is now available on most music streaming services and for purchase online.