Embarrassingly enough, I fell in love with Foo Fighters because of a puppy crush who wore a ratty T-shirt with their logo pasted across every week. On Feb. 5, with the release of “Medicine at Midnight,” I fell in love all over again.
The album begins with the major key, head bobbing celebration, “Making a Fire.” Right off the bat, Dave Grohl and Co. prove to their listeners that their 2021 music is unlike the hard rock they’ve put out in years past. This song is upbeat: a genius mix of oozing melodies and a lyrical base that allows us to witness different strengths in Grohl’s voice.
The choir of “na na na na’s” and clappers is a throwback to the classic Beatles song, “Hey Jude” and further saturated with summertime, “Ah’s, you’ll want to accompany this tune with your favorite cold drink.
The ride continues with “Shame Shame,” which Grohl said was the song for a dream his 14-year-old self had where a burning coffin stood at the top of a hill, and he had no way to save the person inside.
It steps outside of Foo’s comfort zone as Grohl’s dark baritone voice shouts over slow, choppy percussion. With the repetition of the record scratching note “shame,” and a handful of open-ended rhymes, “Shame Shame” is the most mysterious song the band has brought us thus far.
The album then slows down for “Chasing Birds,” a depressing ode to optimism that will be going on all of my sad playlists. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,’’ Grohl sings over a dreamy, progressing guitar. This is an accessible line that will kick many in the gut – we all at some point question the purpose of doing good when there is so much bad.
Similarly, “Waiting on a War” is a ’70s new wave tune. The lyrics, “I’ve been waiting on a war since I was young / Since I was a boy with a toy gun,” stands out especially for generations that have been trained to combat violence from bomb threats, terrorist attacks, and school shootings.
With a groovy David Bowie-esque dance beat and seductive blues guitar solo, the title track will put you right back in the club with your bedazzled vest and polyester lover.
On the flip side “Holding Poison” is an energetic anthem that could accompany the montage of a New York City boxing film. The creative riffs and jerks may not be suitable for office work, but you’ll definitely have fun jumping around the gym.
My favorite is “No Son of Mine,” as the classic rock, guitar heavy instrumentals are reminiscent of the old Foo Fighters that made tracks like “Times Like These” and “Monkey Wrench.” It also reeks of nostalgia for head banging concerts and the music festivals we all miss during these pandemic times.
It finishes with the somber “Love Dies Young” that dips its toe into ’80s rock with sweet, feel-good riffs that reminded me of Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer,” and it did that neat trick when bummer lyrics become a catchy earworm.
Finally, it comes together for a dynamic and fascinating listening experience – no note is unattained for. Foo Fighters’ albums in the past are recognizable for their formulaic, intense sound, but “Medicine at Midnight” is like a soundtrack to an action movie, with each song expanding the story with a different attitude.
After 25 years as a band, you’d expect the quality of music to plateau, but the fun, mysterious, and occasionally banger jams of this album prove that it’s only up from here.
They are not afraid to experiment with new – and old – realms of the genre which is the medicine we all needed after the mundane redundancy of 2020.