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Smooth Bananas: ‘Medicine at Midnight’

“Medicine at Midnight” is the newest addition to the Foo Fighters’ catalog but unfortunately for them, they should have just stayed on the shelf. 

The album, produced by Greg Kurstin and released by labels RCA and Roswell, is the tenth studio album by the Foo Fighters. The album contains 9 songs of similar length and runs approximately 36 minutes. The album was initially planned to release in 2020 but due to the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the album was delayed to its new release date of Feb. 5, 2021. 

The album has only one master: rock music of the past. Rock music as an art form is dying as a whole. Some artists are taking to this death organically and evolving into other styles or even trying to bring small facets of the old and blend it with the new. The Foo Fighters are not doing that. They are slugging along the rotting corpse of rock and roll on their backs. A band like the Foo Fighters comes from a long legacy. They’ve been making music together for more than 20 years and they have garnered an intense fanbase. Their incessant march in writing albums is more about that legacy than it is any bond between them. The long and short of it: it’s about money. These guys’ careers are built on making money off their music and that money is finite. 

That facet aside, the Foo Fighters are excellent at what they do. They are entertainers through and through. Dave Grohl is one of the last vestiges of the old world of rock and he and the other band members truly live this lifestyle even if the rest of the music industry has moved on. Grohl has been known to tour with broken limbs because of both the dedication to the job and also the money. The Foo Fighters have a charm that somehow has kept them alive in a changing musical landscape. 

Foo Fighters’ charm only extends so far. The listener can’t help but appreciate Dave Grohl’s charm but also wish they weren’t listening to such uninspired music. One might even ask how they approached writing some of the more boring tracks on the album. The music feels just as dated as anything you might hear on the original Guitar Hero soundtrack. You can hang any of the tunes on the album interchangeably with any other of their catalog and you probably couldn’t tell the difference. 

The Foo Fighters exist in the same empty universe for every modern album. They have a predictable bend that makes you just want to skip every track. Frankly, because of the album’s length, you quite literally wouldn’t miss much. There are a few tracks that Grohl tries to become more intimate and acoustic but his gnarly, grungy voice just doesn’t work outside of the rock idiom. The band writes music out of a sense of duty and fear rather than creative vision. 

As you can imagine, this is an album you can skip. The proof is in the pudding. “Medicine at Midnight” receives a C-minus rating. 

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