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Mace & Crown | December 14, 2017

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Foo Fighters’ ‘Concrete and Gold’ pervades the spirit of American rock ‘n’ roll

Adam Flores | Senior Writer

Courtesy Roswell Records, Inc.

Dave Grohl is bringing up his children the right way. Harper, his middle daughter, is starting to learn to play the drums. As a rock ‘n’ roll dad, and with great pride, he heads down to the local Hollywood record store, Amoeba Records, on a day off from his hectic, multimedia work schedule to buy some records for his daughter to play along to.

Harper’s request was for an Imagine Dragons LP. Earlier, Grohl initially gave his daughters a Beatles box set vinyl. As he explained to Rolling Stone earlier this month, he wanted to “make sure they had some sort of musical foundation before they went straight to f—ing Iggy Azalea.”

He also countered this Azalea anxiety by getting her an AC/DC record to which he said, “Even for an eight-year-old, you can’t go wrong with ‘Highway to Hell.’” Father knows best.

Frontman Grohl and his fellow Foo Fighters are the spirit of American rock ‘n’ roll. Their latest, “Concrete and Gold” is a continuation of their sonic youth and systematic chaos. Within an array of recent, new releases by big name artists switching things up musically, the Foo Fighters have not deviated from their patented formula and product that have made them what they are today in rock.

Since their formation in 1994, the Foo Fighters have projected a raw, post-grunge, alternative/hard rock synergy that has made them possibly the biggest rock act of the past 20-plus years not selling records but selling out stadiums.

Foo drummer Taylor Hawkins said, “There’s no rock music – fucking none.” Rock may be in its quiescent stage overshadowed by Drakes and Azaleas, but Grohl, in his fatherly wisdom, said, “I think there’s a whole new generation just waiting to come out.”

Are Grohl and company the bastions of restoring American rock ‘n’ roll’s anthemic call and allegiance? The Foo Fighters, rock’s omnipotent Justice League, are our hope of restoring the genre to its compulsive, yet avuncular heart.

As their ninth studio set, “Concrete and Gold” twists and turns with uncontrolled precision. Lead single “Run” and follow-up singles “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” and “The Line” provide signature big choruses and guitars along with the sporadic Grohl rebel yell.

Grohl is typically not one to voice his political views, but the 2016 presidential election and resulting Trump presidency influenced his negativity. He shares some of his political angst within “La Dee Da,” on which he suggests, “Look out ’cause you know what you’re doing / Turn up the American ruse…Keep your pretty promise to yourself.”

Concerned with the future of humanity, lead track “T-Shirt” echoes the same sentiment as Grohl sings, “There’s one thing that I have learned / If it gets much better, it’s going to get worse / And you get what you deserve.”

The Foo Fighters enlisted the production services of pop songwriter Greg Kurstin, who has produced songs for Halsey, Sia and Adele. The collaboration saw Kurstin for the first time working with a heavy rock outfit while the seemingly control-freakish Grohl, who produced previous Foo Fighter albums, let go of the reigns to have someone else produce the record.

The new record also sees some guest appearances from the music community such as Boyz II Men vocalist Shawn Stockman, Justin Timberlake and most notably, Sir Paul McCartney whom Grohl is jamming buddies with and their families have socialized together. One day in the studio, Grohl texted McCartney asking for a favor: to play drums on a new track. The legendary Beatle responded coming in and laying down two takes, of which the first ended up as the final for “Sunday Rain.”

“Concrete and Gold’s” solid 11-track set defines what the Foo Fighters have come to be known for in American rock ‘n’ roll. With post-Nirvana Grohl at the helm, the band looks to continue their trek as rock ‘n’ roll’s premier voice with a simple formula, stadium-inducing sound and honest narrative in a Trump-era America.

Stream the album on Spotify here.