fri 19/04/2024

Albums of the Year 2023: Foo Fighters - But Here We Are | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2023: Foo Fighters - But Here We Are

Albums of the Year 2023: Foo Fighters - But Here We Are

Pre-eminent stadium rockers channelled their grief into producing their most earnest and captivating album since 2011

Faint cover image: channelling grief

Where 2022 threw a personal surprise Album of the Year with Maggie Roger’s dancey indie-folk blend on Surrender, 2023 was more of a return to business, with a range of my regular listens all popping up with solid-to-supreme listens.

From Queens of the Stone Age’s dark-witted return with In Times New Roman, to Enter Shikari and Spiritbox each both surpassing their solid pandemic releases with A Kiss for The Whole World and The Fear of Fear EP respectively – though I had enjoyed the new delights from Mitski and Hozier, in the end it was the familiar faces that carried me through.

Ultimately, it’s been a close-run choice between the rock-band of the past decade, Foo Fighters, who reconciled a whole year of grief and trauma with But Here We Are, and Sleep Token – the anonymous Metal collective who have taken the scene by storm with their genre defying production, culminating with their third album Take Me Back to Eden.

But what edges Foo Fighters just ahead, is recognising what they achieved following such a guttural body blow in losing Taylor Hawkins, then only months later Dave Grohl’s mother sadly passing as well. We all experience grief in our lives, and how we process that is personal to us. Grohl and co channelled it into an album that edges further out of the usual Foo Fighter’s wheelhouse; arguably their most earnest and captivating since 2011’s Wasting Light.

There is still the slick, huge anthems that are Foo Fighters’ trademark, see lead single “Rescued”. But along the way, they push and pull, adding flourishes and touches that are new, but complement what’s there, like the ghostly outro of “Hearing Voices” or the eerie, lo-fi/shoegaze-lite of “The Teacher”.

Yet the album really shines in the lyrics, with this being some of Grohl’s best songwriting. But Here We Are captures all the stages of grief in unfiltered honesty, culminating in the mournful acceptance of “Rest”.

It’s not that Sleep Token didn’t capture a similar emotive journey with TMBTE, and what they achieved in 2023 is breathless and exciting for a Metal band – at time of writing their track “The Summoning” has just over 90 million streams on Spotify alone. But where Foo Fighters go on But Here We Are is beautifully raw, and it should be cherished they chose to take us along with them.

Two more essential Albums from 2023

Sleep Token – Take Me Back To Eden
Hozier – Unreal Unearth

Musical experience of the Year

2023 was a leaner year in terms of gigs – one resolution for 2024 already written down! – but I did manage to see Tigercub in October at Chalk. This gig marked a celebration of sorts, supporting their album The Perfume of Decay which dropped in the summer, and their first tour in the UK since 2021, this gig in Brighton a homecoming for the trio. And what a return it was. A roaring, grungey mix of their new and older material, launching off with the smothering rocker “Swoon” off their latest – straight away their fuzzed sounds turned up the noise levels and didn’t drop for the next 90 minutes. It may have been mid-October, but that night Chalk was a hot-box as Tigercub proved they’re one of the most exciting rock bands around.

Track of the Year

Sleep Token - Vore

Where Foo Fighters go on But Here We Are is beautifully raw, and it should be cherished they chose to take us along with them

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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