By now Foo Fighters should be a mystery to no one. Everyone who has even turned on a radio in the last 20 years should be aware of them and the style of music they play. Lead by the nicest bloke in rock, Dave Groh’s Mr. Nice Guy persona doesn’t generally make it entirely onto any record. This album is… different.
Those who came expecting to rock need to drop that expectation at the door, as it takes the band until third track Cloudspotter before it even begins to tackle any kind of the rock sound that you might have come to expect. Instead, Medicine at Midnight opens with a far poppier sound that will have hips shaking more than heads banging on Making a Fire before changing tack and clamping down on what could be their most boring track in some time, Shame Shame.
Keeping things interesting, the title track feels like it was lifted straight from a mid-80s David Bowie album, something Grohl has warned of in interviews leading up to the release. It’s the perfect homage to one of pop’s most enigmatic personalities from an era where his laser sharp focus was squarely on the boring American radio market, and played to great effect.
And I guess that is the hardest pill for this reviewer to swallow. While Foo Fighters have never really sounded dangerous on record, they have often been refreshing. On this album it is refreshingly boring. There are only a few blips of genuine rock to hold the listener’s attention, with the majority being rather boring, less than middle of the road plodding or experimentation that misses the mark more than hitting the target.
Maybe this album will become more of a grower, but after several spins the best advice I have would be to listen with an open mind and a trigger finger on the skip button to find the tracks that hit more than miss on what is sure to become a controversial release for fans in years to come.
1. Making A Fire
2. Shame Shame
4. Waiting on a War
5. Medicine at Midnight
6. No Son of Mine
7. Holding Poison
8. Chasing Birds
9. Love Dies Young