Sonic Highways: A Review

(THE PICKET) – The Foo Fighters celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2014 with their most recent album, Sonic Highways. While it is not the most recent release, it still merits consideration, as its major hits still receive steady radio play, and it’s a strong indication that frontman Dave Grohl still has it after more than twenty years in music.

The opener and biggest hit, “Something For Nothing,” starts the record off on a high note, even if they lifted that riff in the bridge from Ronnie James Dio’s “Holy Diver”.  I can’t really blame them for it though, that riff is killer. The second time the riff comes around, it’s accompanied by some tasty slap bass, which is a treat. “The Feast and the Famine” is a bit disjointed, but it’s rescued by “Congregation” and its nice guitar-and-voice closing piece.

“What Did I Do?/God As My Witness” starts in an unorthodox way, more resembling the ending of a song than anything else, and we soon find Dave Grohl singing on piano, a bit of a departure from the hard-rocking Foo Fighters frontman and Nirvana drummer, who helped popularize low, brooding grunge music in the early 1990s. Normal service is soon resumed with the return of the guitar, until it isn’t and Grohl’s lounge singing returns for a few bars. The “God As My Witness” section has some nice swirling guitar to end the track.

“Outside” is what passes for a mellow rocker here, as Grohl’s guitar takes center stage over a steady, rolling bassline. The synthy “In the Clear” is followed by the underwhelming “Subterranean” and the sluggish “I Am The River” to end the album.

All in all, Sonic Highways is a good effort from a band that’s been kicking since 1994. There are a lot worse albums put out by groups that have been together for 20 years, and there are a lot of bands that have fizzled out in a fraction of that time. Sonic Highways didn’t blow me away, but it mostly kept from boring me. It’s a good effort from the rock veterans.

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