March 25, 2022, Taylor Hawkins, drummer of the Foo Fighters, dies from his hotel room, while the band is on tour. It is a shock for the entire rock universe and more generally of music. After several months of silence is organized with great fanfare two tribute concerts under the logical name Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert. One in London, one in Los Angeles. For those like us who have the chance to watch it on our computer screen, it’s hard to hide our emotion about one of the most influential drummers of his generation.
The question that revolved in every editorial in the world as well as in the entire music industry was simple: Will the Foo Fighters continue? And it is December 31 of that same year that the news came out: The Foo will return. The international tour was cancelled and the band returned to the studio. But Here We Are is the album response to this event, but also linked to another tragic event: the disappearance of Dave Grohl’s mother, Virginia, also arrived in 2022. Of course, we have few surprises regarding the themes of the album.
And it is with the song and first single revealed Rescued that the album begins. And, while Grohl in his lyrics has always avoided speaking directly about another disappearance that traumatized him, Kurt Cobain, from the first two lines of the verse, the subject is thrown to arms the body with Taylor Hawkins. Musically, we find a punchy piece, marked by very percussive drums and a vocal performance of Dave Grohl who throws himself in the battle.
We will also note in this piece the magnificent vocal melody of the chorus, with, as always at home, a work of arrangement brilliant enough to lead to this section of the piece. The concern, which we were afraid of when we knew it would be Greg Kurstin again, would necessarily be the production of the whole.
For those who don’t know, Kurstin has been in charge of producing Foo Fighters albums from Concrete & Gold, and which, in our opinion, has precisely sacrificed the potential of Concrete & Gold as well as Medecine at Midnight through production choices leaving aside the dynamics for an overcompression of the sound ensemble. Unfortunately, this is something that we will find here also for a big part of the album, with in particular a too strong presence of the high frequencies and especially those of the cymbals of the battery.
But unlike these two predecessors, the power of the compositions of this album manages to overcome the mixing problems, it is something that we feel more about songs like But Here We Are, where overcompensating much of the song is disturbing, but works totally during the chorus, including Dave’s screams.
What is interesting is that during more acoustic passages such as the introduction of The Glass, the production is lighter and leaves much more room. Too bad it hasn’t gone any further. But once again, on such a piece, the acoustic introduction passage to electricity and energy cruelly lacks dynamics where it could have been a nice sound punch. Besides, it’s an interesting themed track because it talks again about the relationship between Dave Grohl and Taylor hawkins and their resemblance, and that they considered themselves brothers.
A brother and a mother
The second thematic and musical part of the album begins with Show Me How. We leave the overcompressed rock of the last albums to transition to a rather original music for the band, more focused on new-wave/shoegaze sounds. A unique register in their repertoire, necessarily very interesting. And this evolution in production gives the impression that the previous choices were partly really wanted and conceptualized.
The second theme of this album is necessarily the disappearance of Dave Grohl’s mother. From then on, it was also his daughter, Violet, who joined him to sing a “Where Are We Now” in a chorus that seems to come out of limbo from a meeting between the Cure, David Bowie and My Bloody Valentine.
And after an forgettable Beyond Me which is a kind of evolutionary rerun of Under You, also integrating the loss of his mother in his mourning of Taylor Hawkins arrives the big song and what is certainly one of the best songs ever written by the band: The Teacher.
And here, it’s no less than ten minutes of diving into Dave Grohl’s grief over his mother’s disappearance. A sublime progressive song to listen to from end to end. The song also talks about Dave’s fear of wondering who will be the next person around him to leave. Musically again we are in a dive close to the shoegaze, with in addition this progressive dimension, which proposes different passages that can also symbolize the stages of mourning of the singer.
And in addition, the production and mixing follows 100% all the artistic attempts of this piece, there is immediately more dynamics, and an effect of overcompression to the extreme going to the auditory distortion to conclude the piece, giving meaning to the whole ensemble. The ensemble is intended as a transition to the ultimate piece of the album, Rest, which imposes itself as a beautiful conclusion while nuanced of the hardships crossed by the band and Dave Grohl.
But Here We Are is without a doubt one of the best albums of the band, the best since Wasting Lights without hesitation. It is above all a striking album by its mono-thematic, that of mourning, and which necessarily marks the history of the band and its transition to a new period of the life of the band which will necessarily be different compared to what we knew before.
But Here We Are – Foo Fighter
- Dave Grohl : Voix, parolier, guitare, batterie, co-production
- Nate Mendel : basse, choeurs,
- Chris Shiflett : guitare, choeurs
- Pat Smear : guitare
- Rami Jaffee : claviers
- Violet Grohl : voix sur “Show Me How”
- Greg Kurstin : Production
Notre note :