The Foo Fighters are now officially a better band than Nirvana. I’ve thought this for a while, but Wasting Light only proves my point further. I understand the cultural impact that Kurt Cobain and Nirvana had in the early nineties. Grunge was a revolution and I remember “Teen Spirit” being unavoidable. While I can respect Nirvana’s contribution to music history, I never connected with Cobain or his songs. Listening back on their catalog, I just don’t think the songs are that great.
Some months after Cobain’s suicide, Dave Grohl recorded a demo tape all by himself that eventually became the Foo Fighters’ debut album. The rest of the band’s history is chronicled in the excellent documentary Back and Forth. Grohl openly addresses Cobain’s death and the effect his legacy has had on his current band. It’s like he’s finally getting fifteen years worth of feelings off his chest and now that he’s said his piece, it’s time to just rock.
Wasting Light is a balls out album. Recorded in Grohl’s garage on analog tape with producer Butch Vig and featuring a guest appearance from Krist Novoselic, the Nirvana parallels are obvious. But the Foo’s sound is much more hard, classic rock. “Rope” is the tightest rock groove in the last five years. “Arlandria” has a soaring chorus meant for stadiums. ‘White Limo” and “Bridge Burning” are straight ahead buzz saws.
[Another thing I just thought of regarding their recent Live on Letterman performances (above): Aren’t the Foo’s basically doing a Beatles parody that Nirvana first did in their “In Bloom” video in ’92? Very interesting.]
So back to my original point. For the last decade the Foo Fighters have been the most consistent rock band in America. Grohl has transformed from the guy who played drums in Nirvana to one of the best vocal talents and front men in rock. Still have doubts? Watch the band’s Wembley Stadium concert performance from 2008. The Foo Fighters have been a band for twice as long as Nirvana, yet it feels like Grohl will never be allowed to escape Cobain’s shadow. People need to let it go and realize that the Foo Fighters are a far superior band in every aspect. Wasting Light is just another notch in the belt for Grohl and the Foo’s who are stronger than ever.
“Walk” closes the album with an introspective moments of hope and optimism that gives us the best indication of where Grohl’s head is at these days:
For the very first time
Don’t you pay no mind
Set me free again
You keep alive a moment at a time
But still inside a whisper to a liar
To sacrifice but knowing to survive
The first to find another state of mind
I’m on my knees, I’m waiting for a sign
I never wanna die