Maybe that’s a question that doesn’t need to be answered, but it is a thought that I had upon listening to Medicine at Midnight, the tenth Foo Fighters album, recorded from October 2019 to February 2020 and released a year later on February 5, 2021.
To tell the truth, I don’t think that I’ve ever listened to a Foo Fighters album all the way through, but I spent my high school years listening to the alternative rock station so I’m definitely familiar with their sound and their hits. I loved Nirvana though, and I felt loyal to Hole and Courtney Love when she and Dave Grohl were having beef, which might explain my inexperience with Foo Fighters’ full discography.
Side note: Do other people do this, do other people take a side when celebrities are fighting with one another to the point where being loyal to that celebrity means you simply do not interact with the other celebrity’s content? I have had a tendency to do this and when I look back on it, I usually feel kind of stupid. It took me years to listen to a Nicki Minaj album because I felt loyal to Lil Kim who in 2011, when Nicki was on the top of the charts and seemed to be featuring on every major rapper’s single, released a mixtape full of disses directed at Nicki and accused her of biting her style. It wasn’t until 2017 that I decided to listen to Pink Friday for the first time and boy did I feel salty for missing out on that wave.
Back to the album. This is pure dad rock, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I can picture myself blasting this album on a suburban weekend, hair typed into a sloppy ponytail and a “kiss the cook” apron pulled over my threadbare plaid shirt, setting up the grill outside and roasting some weenies while keeping an eye on my kids as they run around the yard and shoot each other with super soakers. Medicine at Midnight is exactly what I would expect from a rock band who wants to keep making their brand of rock music without trying to reproduce the sound that launched their career in the 90s.
“Waiting on a War” is probably the track I liked most on the album. Melancholy and reflective and building up to rebellious angst, it’s definitely a standout (which makes sense since there is a music video for it already). “Is there more to this than that,” Grohl asks repeatedly throughout the song, political and unspecific, timely in our current slow apocalypse.
The title track, “Medicine at Midnight” is another immediately notable tune. It’s got a bluesy Talking Heads vibe and makes good use of the backup vocalists who appear sporadically throughout the album, adding a layer of richness. Grohl said he was channeling David Bowie on “Let’s Dance” for this track, and I can definitely hear that influence, as well as a sort of Rolling Stones evocation.
Foo Fighters fans will like this album. NME recently reported that Medicine at Midnight is currently outselling the rest of the top 10 albums on the UK charts, combined. Take that however you want.