Medicine At Midnight

Foo Fighters

Roswell, 2021

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Hey look! It’s a classic rock party record!

No, it’s not Van Halen or AC/DC, but the Foos’ 10th album is clearly meant to be a soundtrack for a fun night, assuming you are over 30 and “fun” means “drinking beer and playing cards with your friends.”

Opening cut “Making A Fire” may lead one to believe this is dance rock, but that’s an anomaly. The record is the same basic Foo Fighters template, but the songs are zippier, more upbeat, less screaming, less anthemic. It’s also very short, zipping by in 36 minutes, with seven cheerful tracks and two slower ones that will of course sound great live. That’s where the Foos flourish, as we all know.

Whether the nods to classic rock are intentional is debatable; riffs that sound like Motorhead, Queen and Alice Cooper are scattered around the album, while the bluesy guitar solo in the title track owes its spirit to either Hendrix or Gary Clark Jr. My take is that it’s all intentional, that Dave Grohl and his crew intended the album to recall a certain sound and mood, on a throughline from my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Some Girls to Van Halen II to Ace of Spades to The Colour And The Shape to Lenny Kravitz, but with a more modern update and less sense of humor.

If that sounds good to you, then you’ll enjoy this disc. What the album lacks is that plodding, by-the-numbers, professional rock and roll sound that clogs up about half of each Foo Fighters album. This means there’s nothing as fist-pumpingly heroic as “Walk” or “Outside,” or “Times Like These,” but again, that’s not the point this time around. The point of Medicine is to tap your feet and smile and maybe headbang or play air guitar a bit.

“Making A Fire” employs handclaps and female “na-na” vocals in and around Grohl’s power chords to fun effect, while leadoff single “Shame Shame” goes for a slinky, sulky groove that relies less on guitar and more on percussion; unfortunately, it lacks the dynamics to really coalesce into a classic, becoming repetitive in the second half.

Better is the chunky riffing of “Cloudspotter,” while the acoustic/string “Waiting On A War” (reportedly inspired by a comment Grohl’s teenage daughter made) overcomes its underdeveloped lyrics with slow-building tension that explodes into a triumphant ending; it will be a crowd pleaser in concert. However, the one-two punch of “No Son Of Mine” and “Medicine At Midnight” are two of the band’s best songs in the last 20 years, the latter featuring a killer riff and attitude to burn, the former an urgent psychedelic rocker with a bluesy guitar solo that, frankly, I didn’t know this band had in them.

As noted, the songs don’t really change the Foo Fighters playbook, but there are enough twists and sonic embellishments to make this one more memorable than the last two albums. No special guests, no gimmicks, just a rock band having fun and hoping you do the same. With the bulk of Medicine At Midnight, it’s hard not to.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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