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But Here They Are: Foo Fighters Release Profound Eleventh Studio Album.


Written by Stef Curran


On June 2nd, The Foo Fighters released their eleventh studio album And Here We Are, solidifying the bands most raw and personal material to date.


The Foo Fighters, like many bands that have stuck it out for decades, have had a long journey to get to where they are today. Like any family, bands have to navigate themselves around obstacles and forks in the road, all which have a strong impact on the music they create. From band members quitting, to new band members joining, to band members quitting and then asking to be come back, the Foo's have had to deal with changes within their lineup many times before yet always came out stronger because of it. This time it's different. This time, the situation faced by the band was not only the loss of a member, but the loss of a brother.


On March 25 2022, Foo fans, and truly music fans alike, were delivered the heartbreaking news that Foo Fighters drummer, the talented Taylor Hawkins, had passed. Coupled with the loss of many peoples favourite drummer and a musician that is the backbone of our favourite Foo's hits, it was clear to many that this would directly effect the band, especially Grohl.


Then tragedy struck again just a few months later with the passing of Grohl's mother, Virginia. If you have read Grohl's book The Storyteller (highly encourage you to read it if you haven't), you know that Grohl had a very close relationship with his mother, re-telling stories of how his mother, a school teacher, allowed him to drop of out school because she believed in his passion for music. Virginia knew the world would shine the spotlight on Grohl, who is often labeled as the nicest guy in Rock and Roll (which is so easy to agree with).


As many know, loss isn't something that is new to Grohl, but the loss of his best friend and brother in music and life along with his mother was a pain that was felt by fans everywhere. Many people discuss the Foo Fighters and only highlight Grohl, but we know that Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, Chris Shifflett, and Rami Jaffee all felt the loss of family from both Taylor and Virginia due to how close the bands relationship is. The 2011 "rockumentary" Back and Forth, highlighting the Foo Fighters and the making of their album Wasting Light, shows a scene where Grohl hosts a pool party for all members of the band to bring their wives, children, family to enjoy a moment of comfort before recording starts. This scene shows how integrated these bandmates lives are, and how big of an impact this had on everyone in this circle, family included.



Will the Foo Fighters continue to make music?


Who will be the Foo Fighters new drummer?


Will the new Foo's drummer be permanent? Will it be Dave?


These questions and more were thrown around the internet after Hawkins death, but fans were really respectful with the magnitude of this loss and the time it would take to be able to play as a band with someone who wasn't Hawkins or Grohl at the kit. To fans who have stuck with Grohl for his career, there was a glimmer of hope. As many know, the creation of the Foo Fighters as a band was born after the death of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Grohl grappling with the decision to continue to make music. Thankfully for us, Grohl recognized the importance of pushing on and continuing to do what he loves, creating the first Foo Fighters album This Is A Call.


To read more about Grohl's history with grief in music, follow the link below:


Just as many expected, the Foo Fighters announced the release of their eleventh studio album And Here We Are, dedicated to both Taylor and Virginia. With the release of the first single Rescued, fans knew that we would be in for quite the emotional ride, but a ride that shows to be one with a beautiful display of purpose and strength.


When Rescued was released, some people online were still questioning who was sitting at the kit, but the fans knew; it was Dave. (I mean, who else is going to hit the kit with as much force as John Bonham if it's not Hawkins?)


But still... if Grohl is drumming on the recording, who would the Foo's bring in to perform live?


Enter Josh Freese.



The band introduced Freese as their new drummer during a live stream titled Foo Fighters: Preparing Music for Concerts which was promoting the album just a few weeks before release. In normal

cheeky Foo Fighter fashion, the big moment came after all-star drummers Tommy Lee, Chad Smith, and Danny Carey make their way in and out of the room, teasing viewers that one of them would be the new replacement.

It was only until an, "Excuse me" came from behind the camera's view that Freese was shown already sitting behind the drumkit giving a snarky, "Can we just, like... play a song?" And just like that, he was in.


Freese, who actually has been under our noses the entire time as one of the drummers who played the iconic LA and London Taylor Hawkins Tribute Shows, feels like the perfect choice for the Foo's. This drummer has worked with incredible musicians and bands, such as Guns N' Roses, Devo, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Paramore, and even composer and music icon Danny Elfman.

Photo above shows Pat Smear

giving Freese a fan made sign

that says "Your First Foo Sign, Josh!"

Why didn't Josh play on And Here We Are?


I've seen this question online, and I think the most obvious reason is because of how deeply connected and emotional these 10 songs are. I have no doubt that if Freese sat at the kit for the recording of this album it would be perfect, but with the added connection that Grohl personally has with these songs, writing from a place of grief and loss, for him to be able to bang out these rhythms I imagine was a huge release. In turn, we get a little added emotion in the drum parts, which I heard from the first minute of Rescued.



BUT HERE WE ARE BREAKDOWN


Being vulnerable has never been an issue for Grohl or the Foo's, but there is something special about But Here We Are, which exudes the narrative of very personal experiences that these friends have had to go through since the loss. It's the kind of vulnerability that we can see in Foo songs like I Should Have Known or Let It Die, but amplified, seeing as the fans were also grieving the loss of one of their favourite musicians. This added connection allows fans to really dig into the words being said, and it allows people to make that connection to the band members themselves, Grohl especially.


But Here We Are has 10 tracks, 4 of which were released as singles (Rescued, Under You, Show Me How, The Teacher). The album runs 48 minutes and 14 seconds, and in a selfish way I want to say that it could have had one or two more tracks on it, but in the context of what this album is about, I am just thankful that we get to continue to love and hear new material from the Foo Fighters. It's heavy material, and something that was probably very hard to make, so I will take the 10 tracks and shut up.


The album has touches of past Foo albums Wasting Light and Medicine at Midnight, two very different albums, but both showcasing the width of sound this band can access.


1. Rescued


The album opens with Rescued, which was also the first single released for the album. This song gives the album a bright opening with strong chords leading into a chorus of electric guitars. Instead of a long build and release, this song goes through periods of builds and releases, almost mimicking the ups and downs of life. We never know when life is going to speed up or slow down, and this song shows this while also maintaining that solid rock and roll the Foo's are known for.


The lyrics are a positive entrance into the album. Even with the sense of impending urgency to be "rescued", Grohl sings "We're all just waiting to be rescued," inviting listeners in and showing us that all of us, no matter who we are or our experiences, all have moments where we want to be rescued from the situations that life brings us. Grohl and the Foo's have always been known to be those who give back to the community and to their fans, so of course it seems right for them to involve us in this grieving process, so to speak. Amplifying that grief and loss is something we all deal with, and even though they are huge rockstars, somedays they still want to be rescued.


2. Under You


The second track on the album and the second single released is a song that talks directly about the loss of Taylor Hawkins. Even with a true Foo Fighters rock sound, the song is emotional and brings up the impact of this loss and how it continues to show up in everyday life. The music itself displays a strong rhythm section, highlighting Nate Mendel's sturdy, and often overlooked bass lines.


Lyrics discuss how even after time has passed, that feeling of loss never truly leaves us. As we continue on with our lives, little things remind us of the past and the realization that someone is truly gone is harder some days than others. Lyrics like, "Over it, think I'm getting over it, there's no getting over it" explain that we never really get over the loss of a loved one, instead we learn (eventually) to live alongside of our grief.


One of the most touching moments in this song is when Grohl sings, "Someone said I'll never see your face again, part of me just can't believe it's true. Pictures of us sharing songs and cigarettes, this is how I'll always picture you." When the single was released, fans began to share photos of Grohl and Hawkins sharing cigarettes and making music, showcasing their friendship and true brotherhood which is what Grohl continues to hold on to.


3. Hearing Voices


The first song on the album that was not released as a single is the third track, Hearing Voices. This song explores how often times when we lose someone, we long to be able to hear their voice again. This song is haunting, sounding like it could have appeared on Wasting Light or Medicine at Midnight easily, with a softer rock sound than what we heard in the first two tracks. The song begins with guitar that leads into a more punky flow and beat, creating tension between the guitars and the rhythm section.


"I've been hearing voices, none of them are you," is sung by Grohl multiple times throughout the song, reminding us that even though Grohl and Hawkins had such a strong connection and a long friendship, his voice is hard to find within his mind. Even with interviews, videos, and podcast clips of both friends talking, it just doesn't satisfy that want to be able to close your eyes and hear the comfort of your friends voice. The songs lyrics touch on how tough it is to try to overcome the loss of a loved one, with Grohl trying to remind himself "nothing good ever lasts forever", but we still search for that comfort of having them there.


The song ends with a transition to Grohl performing the song acoustically, stripping down the haunting beat to leave him exposed. Grohl sings, "Speak to me, my love" gently over an acoustic guitar and piano as a plea to be able to hear the voices of his loved ones again. This ending tugs at the heartstrings, reminding us that even when the song has ended, Grohl is still is longing to hear the voice in his head.


When listening to this song, I am not only reminded of Taylor and Virginia, but also of Kurt Cobain and Jimmy Swanson, Grohl's longtime friend. This searching for voices continues and even though we learn to grow and move forward with life, we still find ourselves searching for the voices that only continue to fade with time.


4. But Here We Are


The fourth track, and the title track, is all about coming to terms with the new reality that exists after loss. We see a pick up in speed from the previous track, with a lot of movement within the composition. This song reminds me of classic Foo Fighter albums, like Echoes Silence Patience and Grace, using a calculated chaos fueled by the drums. As the song progresses, we can hear a dance between all instruments, giving a feeling of confusion and mayhem which echo the lyrics that are being delivered with passion and volume reminiscent of songs like Free Me from In Your Honor.


The lyrics of But Here We Are speak to coming to terms with the cards we are dealt. Dealing with ideas of fate and wishing on stars, Grohl focuses in on how even though this reality feels like an "illusion", it is the new reality we have to exist in. I think this is the perfect song to have as the title track of the album, as it shows a place that Grohl has been before where he, and his bandmates, have to lay that heavy grief aside for a moment and look at the situation before them and say, "Well... here we are. Where do we go from here?". The third verse speaks to this directly, with lyrics, "Patience. Are you ready now? Arm in arm we are forever," which I believe shows the conversations that the band had to make together around moving forward as a group in this new reality.


5. The Glass


The fifth song, The Glass, begins the slope into the pain that comes from grief. It's a softer composition, while still having a sturdy beat, creating the feeling of dragging feet or being weighed down. This song coming after a lot of high tempo songs so far creates just enough softness within the rock sound to create the illusion of slowing down or being stuck.


This song shows Dave speaking about Taylor, signified by the use of the pronoun "him" in some lines. As many fans know, Taylor and Dave were soulmates in every sense of the word, sharing their careers, families, and everything in between. Such similarity that it's like being with another version of yourself, your reflection. This is a special bond that doesn't come around often, but for them it blossomed and grew with time, making this situation these lyrics even more devastating.


"I had a person I loved, and just like that

I was left to live without him, left to live without him

Waitin' for the storm to pass

Waitin' on this side of the glass"


The glass which he is referring to can be a number of things, but to me, the glass is a metaphor for this life and the after-life, or another life. With Grohl waiting on this side of the glass, unable to see through it shows the physical loss of someone close to you, how hard it is having them not around and not even being able to see them. Grohl sings that he feels something between them, which I believe is the physical world. This can get deeper in the world of "what happens when we go when we die?" but for the purpose of this song, it's a beautiful comment on the connection that reminds strong and alive, even when someone is no longer physically with us. One day, Grohl will be on the other side of the glass with his loved ones, (but please god not any time soon). To some, just believing in this can help with the grieving process.


6. Nothing At All


One of my favourite tracks on the album, Nothing At All talks about knowing that grief isn't linear, and some days you'll give it your all and some days you'll be able to give nothing at all. This track was debuted during the livestream, but packs an even bigger punch when heard in context of the album, especially coming after The Glass. Nothing At All sounds like it could instantly be off of Medicine at Midnight, with a guitar riff and tone that is similar to the title track of that album.


With a hard hitting rock sound, and absolutely incredible drums (as to be expected), this shows a coming to terms to the fact that life doesn't just "go back to normal".


7. Show Me How


One of my favourite things about Dave Grohl is his love for his children and the admiration of their talents. Violet Grohl, Grohl's oldest daughter, has been singing with her father for a long time,

but she got to display he talent when she sang onstage in front of thousands of people during the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Show in LA and London this past summer.

Photo by Kevin Mazur


Singing songs from incredible artists like Amy Winehouse and her favourite artist Jeff Buckley, she took the stage by storm and showcased her velvety smooth tone and stage presence. I highly recommend reading The Storyteller, where Grohl speaks so highly about his family and being a father, recounting stories of music and support.


Grohl is a family man, and that doesn't just mean his blood family. One of the most emotional moments from the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Show was when Shane Hawkins, Taylor's son, was brought onstage to play drums for Foo's hit My Hero. Grohl supported a grieving son by encouraging him to release all of that heavy emotion by absolutely pounding out the well-known and loved Foo Fighters hit with a veracity that would make his father not only smile, but scream and shout. Both Shane and Violet are now featured in Foo Fighters shows.


Photo by Andi K. Taylor


Show Me How is a dream-pop song that features Violet Grohl on vocals with her father. This song discusses the unique relationship between parent and child, especially when it comes to loss. The Grohl duo use their seamless vocal blend to express the questioning that comes from losing a parent. Singing lyrics like, "Where are you now? Who will show me how?", the song is acknowledging the confusion and realization that comes with losing the person that has been with you your whole life, teaching you and nourishing you. Who will be there now? The most haunting and heartbreaking moment in this song is when Violet sings the refrain alone, "I'll take care of everything from now on," signifying that a day will come when she herself will be in Dave's position, asking herself these same questions. This song shows the support between Violet and Dave, and how Violet is feeling a lot of these heavy emotions as well.


8. Beyond Me


The eighth track on the album is Beyond Me, which articulates how the pain and grief that comes from losing someone is often a shock or surprise, as the thought of losing them was beyond them. We truly cannot fathom how it will feel or impact our lives until that person eventually does pass, and we are left to this confusing set of emotions and feelings that we simply can't prepare ourselves for.


Beyond Me begins with an innocence, just a piano line playing under Grohl singing softly, which eventually erupts to a passionate and heartfelt chorus, singing lyrics, "But it's beyond me, forever young and free," amplifying that we can't conceptualize the loss of someone so important to our lives. Even after we lose them, it leaves many questions that go unanswered, much like how Grohl asks questions in these lyrics that he knows there will be no answer too, but yet we still torture ourselves with them in the grieving process.


9. The Teacher


Clocking in at 10 minutes and 4 seconds, the second last track on the album, The Teacher, is a dive into Grohl's mind and an analysis of how he feels after these incredible losses. Virginia Grohl was a teacher, and seemingly this song is dedicated to her and how much she has taught Grohl over his life. This songs journey explores the reality rollercoaster that comes from losing a loved one and how we continue on from that.


The first half of the song is a slow build which eventually releases into a refrain of Grohl screaming "wake up", either calling on his loved ones to wake up, or even himself from what seems to be a nightmare. This first section discusses the uncertainty of life, how Grohl has such empathy for others and how he can feel and see things happening to others, yet he knows he can't change the outcome. In the second verse, Grohl goes on to discuss how "the here and now will separate," speaking to how after a traumatic event, such as a loss, we are left with a fragmented version of ourselves. The life we lived before that moment is gone, and we now are forced to move forward with this experiences always impacting us. "Whose at the door now?" Grohl asks, questioning who will be the next person that metaphorically walks out of the door of our lives, showing the fear that enters our lives when we do experience the loss of someone close. Who is next? When will this happen again?


After the 5 minute mark, the song transforms into a more calm, mellow sound, as a moment of reflection and realization sets in. This shows a coming to terms with what is going on, and releasing that uncertainty that flows around us after a loss. This section talks about how fragile life really is, with Grohl singing "Try and make good with the air that's left, countin' every minute, livin' breath by breath," showing how we have to cherish the time we do have and love and live in the moments we have on earth. We never know when they can be taken away from us or one we love.


The end of the song is a highly emotional release, with Grohl repeating, "You showed me how to breathe, never showed me how to say goodbye." Knowing that Virginia was a teacher, listeners can understand this is directly speaking to the fact that his mother taught him how to breathe, how to live, but she didn't teach him how to say goodbye. Mostly because that isn't something we can be prepared for, it's something we have to learn on our own. This is followed by Grohl repeatedly singing goodbye, giving a guttural farewell to the ones who he has lost, truly acknowledging that they are gone.


Something interesting about the music video for The Teacher is it has quick glimpses into Grohl's past, including home videos featuring Kurt Cobain. As Virginia was so supportive of Grohl pursing his dream, this could be in reference to the life he was able to live (kicking into gear with the mega stardom of Nirvana) thanks to the dedication and trust from his mother. However, I also think this could be a reference to the question "who's at the door now", recalling how Grohl has had to deal with the loss of loved ones before and he still doesn't really know how to say goodbye. It has never gotten easier, only more deep and painful.



10. Rest


If you haven't cried yet while listening to this album, this last song will certainly do the trick.


Rest is a heartbreaking ode to those Grohl has lost before. Sounding a lot like the song Friend of a Friend off of In Your Honor, listeners are brought into a calm guitar melody with Grohl singing with a vocal effect, sounding almost like a voicemail. There is a level of disconnect in the sense that his voice isn't clear, something is in the way of those who he is singing to hearing him clearly.


The lyrics in this song are just devastating, echoing the things people do when they lose someone close to them, such as wearing their close or looking at photos to remember old memories. How Grohl closes his eyes and can feel the touch of the ones he loves who he has lost gives such a real and honest depiction of loss, where sometimes we can feel like they are still with us even though they are not physically with us anymore.


Make you laugh, maybe I could make you laugh

Books of faded photographs, moments saved for you


The song goes from an acoustic calm to an noisy climax, featuring heavy static and feedback, while Grohl repeats the phrase, "Rest, you can rest now. You will be safe now." Even though we are physically left to deal with the pain and suffering of loss, our loved ones who have passed on are now at peace, safe, and at rest with all the things they have had to deal with throughout their lives. Whether that be struggling with drugs, which Grohl has seen many times first hands, mental fatigue, or just sickness or ailments from growing old, our loved ones leave us with heartache but are met with peace and freedom. While it is hard, trying to focus on that aspect of death will slowly allow us to find rest within ourselves and move forward.


This song is the Foo Fighters goodbye to everyone they have lost, and acknowledgement that they are coming to peace with the fact we cannot decide how long we exist on this earth, but we must continue to love big and live each moment with full intention and passion. We aren't promised tomorrow, but we are promised today.


The album closes with a simple moment of hope, showing the recognition that one day Grohl will be back with the ones he has lost.



But Here They Are...


This album is not only profound because of the reason for it's creation, to honour and say goodbye to Taylor and Virginia, but by showing how expressing our feelings, bring it into the light and discussing them, will help in the healing process. By opening up that place within us that we want to shut out when we experience trauma or loss, Grohl is able to not only help heal within himself and the Foo Fighters, but give something to fans who have been where he is, to show others that grief is a part of our lives whether we like it or not, but by opening up and expressing these feelings we can begin the healing process.


From all the questions, the guilt, the sadness, can come hope. This is exactly what But Here We Are does. It shows profound hope and resilience, while also showing how deeply loved and impactful both Taylor Hawkins and Virginia Grohl were and will continue to be.


Thank you Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, Rami Jaffee, and Chris Shifflett for being vulnerable and exposed, allowing the creation of a masterpiece and tool for others to being healing. Thank you Josh Freese for entering a band at the height of their heartbreak, sitting on a stool that has years of history and legacy, and being instrumental in continuing the heartbeat of the Foo Fighters.



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