Foo Fighters : But Here We Are

Avatar photo
Foo Fighters But Here We Are review

The events surrounding the death of Kurt Cobain and subsequent end of Nirvana no doubt made for one of the most harrowing periods in the lives of each and every person involved. It was also, with its tangled web of rage and grief, fodder for ravenous, trashy tabloids. So Dave Grohl’s steadfast refusal to publicly discuss how his music has been informed by the people and circumstances responsible for Foo Fighters‘ very existence has got to be one of the most commendable acts of self-censorship in the business. A number of the Foos’ hits have been met with rumors, accusations or assumptions about their relationship to figures from Grohl’s past, only to be shot down upon contact with the man himself. Is “My Hero” about Kurt Cobain? “It’s kinda more about heroes who are ordinary. It’s like ordinary, everyday, working class hero kinda crap,” he told Howard Stern. What about “Let it Die”? “[It’s] a song about feeling helpless to someone else’s demise … it’s happened more than once in my life,” he told The Guardian. And it was a whole 15 years after the fact that Grohl finally admitted “I’ll Stick Around” really was about Courtney Love. The band’s attitude ever since 1995 has been that, when it comes to backstory, the lyrics are all you’re getting.

That’s one of the main things that separates the group’s eleventh record from the albums that precede it, because it doesn’t take a lot of sleuthing to figure out what But Here We Are is all about. Released following the death not only of Taylor Hawkins—the Foo Fighters’ longest-serving drummer—but also of Grohl’s mother, Virginia—the album is utterly soaked with a profound sense of loss and unrequited longing. Its ten tracks paint a picture of a world where everything’s not quite in place—something’s always just out of reach—and though the unrest is constant, the band’s expression of it is channelled through many emotional hues.

“Beyond Me,” an airy power ballad, adopts an acquiescing, near-spiritual tone, declaring its subject to be “forever young and free.” Country-inspired number “The Glass,” on the other hand, feels far more inwardly focused, as Grohl, wounded and abandoned, laments that he “found of a version of love, and just like that / I was left to live without it.” The title track sounds almost bitter; “I gave you my heart / But here we are,” Grohl declares in his classic throaty growl. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a dark outburst of frustration, perhaps at the fact that Grohl was not, himself, able to prevent the inevitable. Quite where the blame lies—if anywhere—is not made at all clear.

These songs are emotional enough in and of themselves, but one of the album’s greatest triumphs is that, despite the subject matter, it still manages to so often sound upbeat and joyful in an existential sort of way. But Here We Are is not (just) a cathartic howl into the void (though it does indulge, with the astonishingly powerful ending to “The Teacher” seeing Grohl bellow a heart-shattering “Goodbye!” that eventually burns out into fearsome, crackling static, at the same time numbing and all-consuming). It’s a complex, measured, and realistic response to grief, balancing out the more openly morbid moments with tracks such as “Under You,” a charming, melodic rock song that acknowledges that these periods of heartache do, eventually, pass. “Nothing At All” is an outrageously fun thrasher built around a classically grungy loud-quiet-loud model that speaks to the band’s roots. “Show Me How,” meanwhile, looks to the future, with Grohl joined on vocals by his daughter Violet for a soothing, dreamy ditty that shirks the aggressive angst that was once the band’s bread-and-butter.

And looking into the future—specifically, at what lies beyond crisis—is an important and beautiful aspect of But Here We Are. It is referenced subtly but most affectingly with the opening and closing tracks, “Rescued” and “Rest.” Both are songs that escalate the tension before exploding into a huge, exuberant climax, a songwriting trope that the Foo Fighters have used with masterful alacrity throughout their career. Bookending the album in this way helps to anchor But Here We Are into an ongoing narrative about the band’s life—a signal that, despite enduring an unforgiving wave of personal tragedies, Foo Fighters are still kicking.

Label: Roswell/RCA

Year: 2023

Similar Albums:

Foo Fighters But Here We Are review

Buy this album:

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top