The Student Playlist

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REVIEW: Foo Fighters – ‘Medicine At Midnight’ (RCA / Roswell)


In a sentence:

Drawing on more diverse influences than normal, Foo Fighters’ 10th album ‘Medicine At Midnight’ feels like a transitional statement.

Medicine At Midnight is the tenth release by the seemingly indefatigable Foo Fighters. Listening to the record’s key highlight, being that it marks a departure from their post-grunge roots in favour of a more diverse sound, feels like a swift dilution from their most iconic releases. The opening track ‘Making A Fire’ introduces soothing backing vocals, providing a harmony of blues overtones whilst the chaos engine that is Tyler Hawkins churns and turns with heavy hitting and polyrhythmic drumming. These enhancing and catchy backing vocals prove to be an element used throughout the album and can be heard in a large majority of the tracks; ‘Shame Shame’, ‘No Son Of Mine’, ‘Cloudspotter’, ‘Medicine At Midnight’ and ‘Holding Poison’.

READ MORE: Foo Fighters // ‘Concrete And Gold’ – album review

The second track ‘Shame Shame’ brings the tempo down, making a harmonically melodious and rhythmical piece. It is accompanied by strings, human claps, and busy drumming patterns. A descending vocal melody is repeated, furthering the movement of the track before a fast and intense structure makes its return on ‘Cloudspotter’.

‘Waiting On A War’ is perhaps the forerunner of the change to a lighter timbral sound, as it is dominated by strings and acoustic guitars for most of its duration. The lyrics reflect the serious subject matter of impending war and violence, matching that of a powerful ballad. The final segment is interesting as it is quite the opposite to what is established, surprising us with screaming guitars and fast repeats of the lyrics. The touches of grooviness and a somewhat soulful timbre throughout the record can also be owed to the different palette of influences that Dave Grohl has drawn down on. Grohl cites David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album for instance as a key inspiration for the album’s direction of sound, which in turn does materialise as a more danceable and happier atmosphere in comparison to their previous hard rock fuelled albums, most notably in the title track ‘Medicine At Midnight’.

That is not to say that their new music is not a continuation of their classic formula, as ‘No Son Of Mine’, is a thrashy and energetic number, which serves as a reminder to all fans worldwide that the band’s heavy music flame has not been extinguished. It hints that Medicine At Midnight could well be a transitioning effort to something new on a next record, as the direction is quite ambiguous all round. (5/10) (Jack Walley)

Listen to Medicine At Midnight by Foo Fighters here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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