Foo Fighters Rock Through the Pain Once Again

In this episode of the Pitchfork Review podcast, our critics discuss the eternal arena-rock band’s new album, But Here We Are, their first since the death of longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Foo Fighters Dave Grohl
Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, February 2022 (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Our weekly podcast includes in-depth analysis of the music we find extraordinary, exciting, and just plain terrible. This week Reviews Director Jeremy D. Larson hosts Associate News Director Evan Minsker and Senior Writer Marc Hogan to discuss the Foo Fighters’ 11th album, But Here We Are, which finds them working through the anguish of drummer Taylor Hawkins’ death, as well as the passing of frontman Dave Grohl’s mother.

Listen to this week’s episode below, and follow The Pitchfork Review here. You can also check out an excerpt of the podcast’s transcript below.

Jeremy D. Larson: The issue with a lot of Dave Grohl songs, respectfully, is that they’re just sort of not about anything; there’s very little specificity there. They all kind of take place against a green screen. But going into this album, I was more interested than I had been in years—and I feel a way about that. There’s a little bit of discomfort in knowing that perhaps this album, which is written about a hugely traumatic moment in the lead singer’s life—the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins—will contain some of that vitality and emotion that we loved nearly 30 years ago, after another traumatic incident in his life—the death of Kurt Cobain. How did you feel about that?

Evan Minsker: Yeah, not to be crass, but I would say “morbidly curious” are the first words that came to mind. Especially on the last three albums, which had this non-specificity to them, it felt like they were just churning out this sound that belongs only to them. But that’s the thing: Foo Fighters became this rock band for everyone, and the songs are for everyone. I was so curious about what these songs would tell me about what Dave is going through, so I listened more carefully, more eagerly, more times than I have any of the last few Foo Fighters albums.

Marc Hogan: Maybe the lyrics are a little vague, but the emotions give people a license to cry in an arena or shout along or just really get into their feelings. And this is certainly a moment you would think that they would get into that.

Larson: Given the backstory of the album, I wasn’t sure what it was even going to sound like. Then I first hit play and heard the song “Rescued,” and my first thought was, Oh, of course, of course. This is what this is going to sound like. There was this sense of both relief and inevitability. In a sense I am relieved because “Rescued” is such a fastball right-down-the-plate Foo Fighters song. Yeah, it is about feeling things tonight, not tomorrow. And here we all are together as one, collectively grieving, processing, and moving on.