A touching farewell and an incredible return to form.
We rarely get to talk about stadium rock in-depth considering the spotty quality of the big stadium bands (e.g. RHCP, Guns N Roses). We’d say Foo Fighters are one of the most enduring and boundary-pushing as they near 30 years since their debut. Compared to that of the other bands of their generation, none have the pull of the Fooies, and to their live contemporaries (e.g. Metallica, AC/DC), neither have maintained quality outputs beyond their first 10 years.
Foo Fighters have proved that even in the face of immense loss within the camp, the creative heart of the band is still alive and producing compelling big-budget rock, which in the current era is few and far between. ‘But Here We Are’ does several things in a really beautiful way.
One is the obvious tribute and reconciling with the early loss of core member Taylor Hawkins in 2022, which is the spiritual centre of the record that gives us the trademark lead singles ‘Rescued’ and ‘Under You’.
Surprisingly, it tries its hand at the early stages of the Fooies moving into a family band with Violet Grohl lending her vocals to ‘Show Me How’. After appearing with the band consistently on the current tour, it’s a very real possibility that she will stay on board, which is another welcome addition considering the more gruff elements of the band growing tired for both the band and the genre.
Finally, it can be argued that the songs cease to be about Hawkins but rather about Dave’s late mother, Virginia Grohl. These losses drive home the message of hope and peace in the face of adversity, which for a rock record in 2023, is a deeply moving platform to choose especially when other major acts are releasing the worst material of their careers.
It’s important to remember that the band was born out of the dissolution of Nirvana due to the death of Kurt Cobain. Regardless of how awful the circumstances were personally for either Grohl and/or the band, it is a return to the centre at the spiritual core of the band.
This response to loss and the resilience from it is what we think remains the best part of the band and what sees their records enduring and their shows packed. The album culminates in the outstanding two-punch closers, the ten-minute epic ‘The Teacher’ and the final farewell ‘Rest’.
There is no other example of a band of their size being this genuine and focused in recent memory. It shows that music at this scale can still prove compelling and have a positive message beyond simple nostalgia driving their purpose.
It’s one of the best rock releases of the year, and a career high for the Fooies.
‘But Here We Are’ is available in the Store now.