Medicine at Midnight is an album we least expected from the Foo Fighters. Borrowing traits from the funk genre and echoing popular 80s groove-driven rock its a dance-rock party album that will feature in all of your feel-good playlists.
It’s been a long four years since the release of Concrete and Gold which added rock anthems ‘Run’ and ‘The Sky is a Neighbourhood’ to the discography of legendary rock band Foo Fighters. Of course there hasn’t been a complete drought on new music,with several EPs since 2017, but nothing has been as big as Medicine at Midnight.
It all kicked off in November when ‘Shame Shame’ hit streaming platforms. I’ll admit, it took a while for the record to grow on me. I think after having such strong singles for Concrete and Gold, it felt as if something was missing from this new track. It wasn’t fuelled with the usual Foo Fighters vibe and felt unsatisfied; I even saw a fan online quick to re-name it ‘Lame Lame’. However, sitting comfortably at track number 2, between opening track ‘Making a Fire’ and ‘Cloudspotter’, it’s a melodic intermission track that displays an eccentric, funk-driven side of the band. Taylor Hawkins is at the front of the track, introducing a dance-worthy beat which undeniably demonstrates his talent as the bands drummer. But what’s so great about ‘Shame Shame’ is the repetitive drum-beat that brings a never-ending energy and physicality through the entire track. It’s got all the expected elements of the rock genre, deep bass notes, crashing cymbals and sucker-punch guitar riffs yet it borrows the successful musical arrangement of a repetitive pop song, which evidently seems to work in their favour. ‘Shame Shame’, despite being the first single from the album has become one of my favourites on the track-list.
In an interview with NME Dave Grohl spoke about the bands past albums exploring ‘noisy punk-rock stuff” and ‘radio-rock singalongs’ but had never done groove-oriented rock that David Bowie‘s album Lets Dance featured. The first track ‘Making a Fire’ and ‘Holding Poison’ which sits seventh, checks off the groove-oriented genre for the band, there is literally nothing Dave Grohl cannot do. Even though Medicine at Midnight sees the band delve into genres that would never usually be associated with Foo Fighters, the groove-rock tracks are still instantly recognisable as Foo Fighters tunes.They’ve taken groove-rock that was heavily used by the likes of David Bowie and The Rolling Stones and have made it quintessentially Foo Fighters.
Not only are we getting a taste of funky-groovy rock that have proven the six piece band as innovative musicians, but almost every track is fit for a stadium. Big belting choruses and explosive guitar solos riddle the tracklist, and even mellow acoustic tracks ‘Chasing Birds’ and ‘Waiting on a War’ have ballard-like choruses. These are stadium tracks that are meant to be played live. In the current climate we need a dance rock party album more than anything, and Foo Fighters are more than happy to deliver on that want.
Dance-rock has got to be one of my favourite rock genres; there’s something magical about a record that will make you get up and move no matter where you are. And the title track is no exception. Opening with a soul-funk feel, to say I was surprised at the direction it had taken is an understatement. Soul-funk is in my opinion as far away from the Foo Fighters as possible. The new sound may divide fans whose favourites are big classic rock tracks like ‘Monkey Wrench’ and ‘All My Life’, but the mellifluous mid-tempo tracks composed of funk, soul and groove influences will undoubtedly attract a wider audience and even perhaps pave the way for the 70s/80s groove rock to make a come back.
Medicine at Midnight is a total of nine tracks. It’s only 37 minutes long, the bands shortest album to date. But this does not affect the listening experience; if anything it enriches it, leaving you craving more but still satisfied with the rock heaven that has graced your ears. A album of fast-paced disco influenced rock absolutely justifies the Foo Fighters iconic reputation. As the musicians approach the 25th year milestone they show little to no sign of slowing down and I for one, am glad. Medicine at Midnight is product of ingenious minds that illustrates incredible talent and versatility.
Medicine at Midnight is available to listen to now via Roswell Records Inc. Check out ‘Waiting on a War’ down below.