Dave Grohl is sadly no stranger to grief. The inception of the Foo Fighters was prompted by the untimely death of Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain in 1994. The super-charged US rock group have returned for their eleventh studio album which signifies the first chapter of the band’s new musical existence.
‘But Here We Are’ is the band’s first studio album since the tragic passing of the supremely talented drummer Taylor Hawkins in March 2022. The charismatic frontman penned the lyrics first which superbly demonstrate him navigating his way through the different stages of grief. It is a testament to how music can heal and how the Foo Fighters have used the power of music to unite in order to create something truly beautiful through sonic catharsis.
It’s a painfully raw and an entirely candid response to the events of the last year. It’s also the first album since the passing of Dave Grohl’s mother who sadly died last August, with this loss being pivotal in the framework of this album.
Highly personal, candid and raw, you can feel every drop of emotion not just from Dave Grohl’s introspective lyrics and impassioned vocals, but through every bass line, guitar riff and drum beat. His blistering drumming on the intoxicating ‘Rescued’ which runs the emotional gauntlet from understandable anger and pain to philosophical acceptance elevates the barnstorming propulsive guitars with confessional lines like: “It came in a flash / It came out of nowhere / It happened so fast / And then it was over…”
Grohl asks the questions of anyone who has ever experienced grief – “Where are you now? / Who will show me how” on the stunning ‘Show Me How’ where he duets with his daughter Violet. Grungy guitars mix with their atmospheric yet heartbreaking vocals. It feels like they are singing straight from the soul, but it comes with a message of hope and strength with lines like: “Please don’t worry / I’ll take care of everything from now on…”
The sense of visceral loss is eloquently showcased in the sublime ‘The Glass’ with the heart-rending lines like “I had a person I love / And just like that, I was left to live without him…” Sonically, this has maturity and depth with a raw elegance to it without being too maudlin. Grohl weaves in feelings of hope here where he’s “waiting for the storm to pass / waiting on this side of the glass” – it’s painful, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
There’s a real sincerity and immediacy with the punky surf rock ‘Under You’ where Grohl is conflicted between resignation and the bewilderment of acceptance, revealing his inner thoughts “I think I’m getting over it, but there’s no getting over it” – Dave Grohl is speaking from the heart – not just for himself, but for everyone who loved Taylor, whether they knew him on a personal level or simply just as a fan.
The penultimate ‘The Teacher’ is an epic ten minute odyssey with its menacing pace and devastating lines that will resonate with all like “You showed me how to breathe but never showed me how to say goodbye…”
Ambitious and experimental, this track takes us on a journey from fragility building all the way through to a full-throttled, rip-roaring suckerpunch. The sonics mirror the waves of grief, ebbing and flowing through light and shade.
Album closer ‘Rest’ does more of the same and it provides a real sense of finality. But, it also symbolises acceptance (the final stage of grief) and is a very worthy tribute to both Taylor and Virginia Grohl. Tender, and heartwarming, this is all about letting go “you can rest now / You can be safe now…” The acoustic start segues into an explosive and powerful middle and then eases us back into something more restrained and almost other-worldly like.
With its heady hooks and exuberant riffs, ‘But Here We Are’ is ambitious, poignant, and vivid in equal measure. The emotive and raw sonics are painful but positive at the same time and we as listeners feel every note, line and beat throughout this ten track album which ranks as one of the best Foo Fighters albums in their history.
Words: Emma Harrison