Foo Fighters are about to release their tenth record Medicine at Midnight. Dave Grohl has gone from one of the most iconic bands of all time, Nirvana, to create his own rock and roll juggernaut in Foo Fighters. However, the band itself has always seemed a victim of its own success and caught in their late 1990s sound from records like The Color and the Shape and Foo Fighters. However, Grohl and the gang have blazed a new trail on their latest single.
First off, it sounds like something recorded with Joy Division at Factory Records. There is a raw and unpolished sound coming through in the initial choppy percussion and guitar that verges on plucking strings on a violin. Also, there is a tinny echoing emptiness to these sounds that gives the track a darker tone. Gone are the brash guitar rockers from This is a Call, which are replaced by thoughtful precision. The instrumentation on this track is more considered and structured than the free wheeling on previous records. Big guitar riffs and snapping drums are still there, but they are tempered by a quieter deconstructed arrangement. Even though the track soars into the rock galaxy in the chorus / bridge, it is always grounded by these deconstructed verses. You still feel soaring rock, but it never veers out of control.
Vocally, the track goes a number of different directions. At times Grohl’s vocal is back in the mix and becomes part of the sparse backdrop, while at other times it breaks out into a full frontal rock assault. He also moves from a funky Prince-esque funk falsetto to the rock star we have grown accustomed to. Grohl sings: “Now I got you / Under my thumb, like a drug, I will smother you / I’ll be the one.” Like a drug this song talks about obsession and destruction as it quickly moves into shame and emptiness. This is a song about how you can reach ecstasy only to have that turn on you and become the means for your own personal destruction. All at once it is the sun, the moon, the rain and also the “tongue that will swallow you.”
At it’s heart Shame Shame is everything that I like about Dave Grohl and his career. Much like his time with Nirvana, he is not afraid to take risks and go in a new direction; however, his soaring rock vocal is not far behind. I think this new single may mark a new path for the band, which I am excited to listen to when the record drops.
Listen to Shame Shame