Foo Fighters officially returned Friday with its first new album in more than three years in the form of Medicine at Midnight. While the wait for the band’s new nine-song record was a little long, it was a wait that ultimately has proven worth it. That is because what the band has offered audiences in this 36-minute album is a presentation that exhibits a band that was not afraid of taking a risk, musically speaking. The content is familiar at points, but also shows growth from the band. The lyrical content generates its own interest and will lead to plenty of discussion among listeners, too. ‘Waiting on a War,’ one of the album’s early singles serves well to support the noted statements. It will be discussed shortly. Much the same can be said of ‘No Son of Mine,’ which comes late in the album’s run. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Chasing Birds’ is yet another way in which Medicine at Midnight shows how much it has to offer audiences. It will also be discussed later. When it is considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album becomes a work that while maybe not Foo Fighters’ best album, is still an enjoyable addition to the band’s catalog.
Foo Fighters’ latest album – its 10th – Medicine at Midnight is another record that the band’s established audiences and more casual fans alike will find enjoyable. That is proven throughout the album through its musical and lyrical content. ‘Waiting on a War,’ one of the album’s early singles, is one way in which this is proven. While many audiences have lambasted the song, it is in fact quite an interesting work. Front man Dave Grohl explained in a press release, that the song was spawned after having had a conversation with his daughter about her concerns about the possibility of the United States going to war with another nation. Considering that his daughter was 11 years-old at the time, it would explain why the song’s musical arrangement starts out in such soft fashion. Maybe that softer start is meant to echo his daughter’s innocence and maybe the emotion felt by father and daughter alike during the conversation. As the song progresses, the energy picks up, becoming more intense. That could represent Grohl’s growing tension as he thought about the discussion during the day. It would make sense.
Keeping in mind that the song stemmed from a discussion between Grohl and his daughter, the lyrical content does well in its own right here to reflect the conversation. The song opens, stating, “I’ve been waiting on a war since I was young/Since I was a little boy with a toy gun/Never really wanted to be number one/Just wanted to love someone.” The contemplation continues in the song’s chorus, which finds Grohl asking, “Is there more to this than that?/More to this than just waiting on a war?” This overall opening statement is powerful in its own right. As Grohl noted in his noted press release, he grew up during the latter days of the Cold War during the 1980s. That was a period of great tensions between the U.S. and Russia. So it would make sense that he notes here, the issue of “waiting on a war/Since I was a little boy with a toy gun.” The question that follows in the chorus echoes Grohl’s statement of feelings of frustration at everything that went on during his own childhood and how that of his daughter. That frustration is presented just as much in the song’s second verse, which once again returns to his childhood, stating, “Every day/Waiting for the sky to fall/Big crash on a world that’s so small/Just a boy with nowhere left to go/Fell in love with a voice on the radio.” He continues in the song’s post-chorus, “Just waiting on a war for this and that/There’s got to be more to this than that…Is there more to this than just waiting on a war?” This overall statement is hardly the first time that any musical act has taken on the misery of war and even the fear of war. However, it is just as powerful in the case of this song as in any of the song’s counterparts and predecessors. The whole of this lyrical and musical content is certain to echo with listeners, in turn proving by itself why the album offers much to appreciate. For all that it does to show what Medicine at Midnight has to offer audiences, “Waiting on a War’ is just one of the album’s standout tracks. ‘No Son of Mine’ is another example of what the album has to offer.
‘No Son of Mine’ is a direct contrast to ‘Waiting on a War’ at least in terms of its musical arrangement. Where ‘Waiting on a War’ was a controlled musical composition, this song’s arrangement is a more fiery work right off the bat. Its sound actually echoes hints of Motorhead to a point in the verses, while the chorus sections oddly sound somewhat like Golden Earring’s ‘Radar Love.’ Yes, it sounds like one heck of a joining of influences, but the whole somehow works and makes the song memorable in its own right. The energy exuded through the song’s up-tempo musical arrangement partners well with the statement made through its lyrical accompaniment.
Grohl pointed out during an interview that the song’s lyrical content is meant to present a socio-political commentary. He said of the song, “This is the kind of song that resides in all of us, and it makes sense at the time, we let it out…Lyrically it’s meant to poke at the hypocrisy of self-righteous leaders, people that are guilty of committing the crimes they’re supposedly against.” It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle on takes, politicians on both sides fit into this statement. The statement in question is reinforced right from the song’s outset in its lead verse, which states, “No son of mine will ever do/The work of villains/The will of fools/If you believe it/It must be true/No son of mine.” It is as if this is one of those hypocritical elected officials screaming to the treetops in front of the masses, convincing them that they are so pure and perfect. Those officials continue crowing, “No son of mine will ever need/to beg forgiveness/No wicked deed/Head full of evil/Heart full of greed/No son of mine” There is so much overt piousness in this overall statement, it makes so clear the hypocrisy that the song is attempting to convey from those elected officials. The self-righteousness of those individuals is made just as clear in the song’s third and fourth (yes, fourth) verses, so there is no need to continue on from here. The song’s chorus puts the period to the statement as it reads, “Here we are/The living dead/Han to God/With one foot in the grave/Age of lost innocence/Don’t forget what your good book says.” In other words here are those officials carrying on as they do so often, about religious views while not really walking the walk. Between this final accent and everything noted in the song’s verses, what audiences get here is a damning indictment of this nation’s elected officials. Again, it does not matter whether one is Republican or Democrat. The reality is that these statements apply to elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Paired with the fiery energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole becomes a work that is certain to show in its own way, the power of the song overall. It is still not the last of the album’s most notable works. ‘Chasing Birds’ is yet another way in which Medicine at Midnight shows its strength.
‘Chasing Birds’ is Medicine at Midnight’s penultimate entry. This song’s musical arrangement is quite the laid back composition. It is so relaxed that one might thing this song is meant to be a positive work, but in reality, its lyrical content shows that it is in fact rather melancholy.
The melancholy nature in the song’s lyrical content comes right off the top in the song’s lead verse, which finds Grohl singing, “Chasing birds to get high/My head is in the clouds/Chasing birds to get by/I’m never coming down/My heart is six feet underground.” That last couple of lines juxtaposing where the subject’s mind and heart reside is almost like a statement about someone trying so hard to escape some very negative feelings even though they clearly are there. That seeming inner turmoil is made even clearer in the song’s chorus, which states, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions/Dark inventions of mine/The road to hell is paved with broken parts/Bleeding hearts like mine.” Yet again, here, audiences are presented with a continued commentary about someone dealing with some heavy emotions. The song’s second verse puts the final accent to the commentary, stating, “Chasing birds through the sky/And deep into the black/Chasing birds/Say goodbye/I’m never coming back/Here comes anther heart attack.” This is a powerful statement that will certainly hit listeners hard. Overall, the song’s lyrical approach is something rarely if ever tackled by Foo Fighters in any of its existing songs. Keeping that in mind along with the way in which the topic was handled – including the role of the song’s musical arrangement alongside its lyrical content – the song in whole becomes another clear example of what makes Foo Fighters’ new album worth hearing. When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of that group makes the album overall while not the year’s best rock record, at least one of the year’s best.
Foo Fighters’ new album Medicine at Midnight is another worthwhile offering from the veteran rock band. That is proven throughout the record in its musical and lyrical content alike. Each of the songs examined here support the noted statements. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes Medicine at Midnight a dose of music that Foo Fighters fans and rock fans alike will welcome. Medicine at Midnight is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Foo Fighters’ latest news at: