It has been three years since the Foo Fighters‘ last album “Sonic Highways” was released in 2014, consisting of songs recorded in iconic studios across the country. “Highways” was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America and spawned a successful HBO documentary about its making, but it was a relative disappointment at the Grammys given the band’s usual track record. Actually, “Sonic Highways” earned more Emmy nominations (four) than Grammy noms (two).
On September 15 the band fronted by Dave Grohl released an ambitious new album, “Concrete and Gold,” their ninth record, and it features an eclectic mix of influences and collaborators. They have teamed up with Greg Kurstin, who earned Grammy bids for his work with Sia and Kelly Clarkson, and won four awards for co-writing and producing Adele‘s “25” album and its blockbuster single “Hello.” And there are additional collaborations ranging from Justin Timberlake to Paul McCartney.
The Foo Fighters have won 10 Grammys so far, and they’ve been nominated twice for Album of the Year — “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” (2008) and “Wasting Light” (2012) — but they haven’t won that top category yet. Will this album do the trick? As of this writing it has a score of 73 on MetaCritic, which is higher than “Echoes” (71) and “Sonic Highways” (68), but shy of “Wasting Light” (78). Nevertheless the album “features some of the band’s most vital and impressive tracks in years.” They “gently and enjoyably nudge at the boundaries of what they do.” It’s “varied” and “expansive,” their “most elemental album yet.”
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Jon Pareles (New York Times): “Mr. Grohl and Foo Fighters wear their influences so openly — Pink Floyd in ‘Concrete and Gold,’ Led Zeppelin in ‘Make it Right,’ the Beatles all over the album — that they still come across as earnest, proficient journeymen, disciples rather than trailblazers. But in 2017, there aren’t even many disciples left, while Foo Fighters keep honing their skills.”
Leonie Cooper (New Musical Express): “Finally, Dave Grohl’s inevitable transition into a flannel shirt-wearing Freddie Mercury-with-tats is complete. Kicking off the ninth Foo Fighters album with one minute and 22 seconds of Queen-worthy bombast, the glistening sonic flare that is ‘T-Shirt’ sets the tone for a blistering, high-gloss ‘Concrete and Gold’, a record that features some of the band’s most vital and impressive tracks in years.”
Alexis Petridis (Guardian): “This is clearly a deeply unlikely thing for a stadium rock album virtually guaranteed platinum sales to do, but for the most part, ‘Concrete and Gold’ sees the Foo Fighters gently and enjoyably nudge at the boundaries of what they do, rather than crashing through them to new territory. It’s an album that won’t frighten the horses, but provides enough fresh interest to keep the band ticking over.”
Mark Beaumont (Classic Rock Magazine): “The finished product is actually more like AC/DC having a crack at making their ‘White Album,’ in that it’s as varied, expansive and crammed with drug-crusted invention as a band embedded in blues and hard rock can get. For a record relatively light on pop-rock stadium slayers, it’s also easily the Foos’ most elemental album yet.”