After a long postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foo Fighters finally released their twenty-fifth anniversary (and tenth studio) album on February 5 entitled Medicine at Midnight. Producing the album alongside the band is Greg Kurstin who has worked with artists such as Beck, Paul McCartney, and Sia, but is probably most well known for producing Adele’s Hello, which topped the charts in 36 countries. Overall, the album feels like a sequel to Foos’ second album The Colour and the Shape, but with some new tricks that the band has picked up along the way. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Medicine at Midnight.
The album starts off with a song that lives up to Dave Grohl’s model of classic rock meets Abba. “Making a Fire” serves as a reminder that Foo Fighters are best when they make pop songs. When a breakdown of “na-nas” and “ooos” happens that feels like it takes inspiration from the likes of Zac Brown Band, a smile breaks out across the face. The album opener also seems to be a message to both the band and to their fans, “if this is our last time… I’ve waited a lifetime to live, it’s time to ignite”. Dave Grohl realizes that they are getting older and any one of these albums could be the last, so the band might has well play their hearts out.
“Shame Shame” was the first single that was released off the album, and is also the most different. Although it is interesting, it does not quite fit in with the rest of the songs and at times it can be too wordy (something that has happened with Grohl at times since 2014’s Sonic Highways). But following “Shame Shame” is a song which has vocals like their debut album, song construction from In Your Honor and production from Wasting Light. “Cloudspotter” feels like the ultimate example of who Foo Fighters were over the past twenty-six years. The substance of the song feels familiar, but original. The only downside is at the very end it would be nice to have an additional drive of the guitar that only Pat Smear can truly deliver.
Song number four is “Waiting on a War,” another single released before the album. With elements of “New Way Home” from Colour and Shape and “But, Honestly” from Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace it starts off mainly acoustically, but ends with a thrash that inspires. Paired with “Chasing Birds,” the second to last song on the album which takes the place of the acoustic song that seems to be on every Foos’ album, it shows that this album is two things: pure Dave Grohl and pure Foo Fighters.
The album had two danceable tracks which clearly had a Bowie influence: “Medicine at Midnight” and “Love Dies Young”. The song that shares it’s title with the album sounds like if you combine The Romantics, Duran Duran, and The Knack; and threw them all together. The last song on the album has a vibe that would fit the end of a television show episode that wraps up the album nicely. It is reminiscent of Grohl’s very early cover of the 80’s classic “Kids in America”.
The worst song on the album is the second single that was released, “No Son of Mine”. What starts off like a promising 90’s skater punk song soon turns into a classic rock song that, at best, sounds like a more boring Dead Kennedy’s song. The lyrics aren’t that great, and overall it is skip-able. On the other side of the spectrum, the best song of the album is “Holding Poison,” which feels like the sequel to their earlier song “Wind Up”. Catchy, poppy, ear candy all over the place with some great lyrics and a rock/punk underbelly. “Holding Poison” is everything that the Foos are. With that being said, “Making a Fire” will be the song that the present writer will return to most often.
In the end, the album gets a 4/5. Because of the way it is produced, the way it captures the old sound of the band, the way it branches out into a new direction, Medicine at Midnight contains some of Foo Fighters’ best songs, and the album will age well over the next few years. However, as a full album it does not come together as one solid piece. But this is all an opinion- listen to Medicine at Midnight on all streaming platforms and judge for yourself.
(Cover Photo: The Independent)