Foo Fighters have excited fans by posting a countdown on their page of days, hours, minutes and seconds to a mysterious announcement. They have had this countdown on their website for around a month and on the 23rd of November (Sunday night) it was the day. And the big reveal topped expectations massively. Some fans expected Dave to be released from the chair he was bound to since his injury, some expected a new gig, but the Foo’s gave us a pre-Christmas gift that came as a truly pleasant surprise, and displays the gracious nature of the band.
On the same day Adele was on the hot iTunes page due to her now highly anticipated album release there was a big surprise. With no prior announcement or build up, Foo Fighters were charting. This was difficult to fathom due to the fact that the announcement being so secret, surely only fans would be the ones to know of this shock EP release. I was hunting all round iTunes trying to find the price, I actually thought I had bought the album without knowing how much it was being completely non tech-savvy. But the reason for this high success was actually that it was completely free. And they didn’t just annoyingly spam us like U2…
Earlier in the year during a gig in Sweden, ex Nirvana drummer and front-man of the band, Dave Grohl broke his leg. Like a legend, he made it back on stage to complete the gig but the band had to cancel the UK tour which included dates at Wembley and Glastonbury festival. Wembley is a special venue for the band as they say in their 2011 documentary ‘Back and Forth’ that the 2008 sell out gig in London was a huge achievement in their career. “We didn’t think things could get any bigger… Then John Silva said “you guys wanna play Wembley stadium?””. Obviously with such a connection to the venue, the band cared immensely that they had to cancel the dates. This was made extremely clear how much they cared that they had left fans disappointed through their ‘open letter’ – an apology message, and subsequent UK make-up gigs in Milton Keynes with support from Iggy Pop and Royal Blood.
The band then announced 2 weeks ago that the rest of their tour had to be cancelled due to the violence and attacks in Paris on the 13th November.
It is not the first time members of Foo Fighters have hinted at a hiatus of sorts. It is never set in stone, as we’ve seen in the past, they haven’t disappeared for long. However, this time, the implied break seems genuine, and reading Dave’s words make it seem not only right for the band, but also extremely well deserved. He states that “with everything Foo Fighter related, it will only be when it feels right. And that’s a feeling that’s easy to feel.”. Even though it can be agonising for fans to have to wait for new material from their favorite artists, it has been made clear that this is the right decision, and hopefully it will refresh the band to allow them to come back with more stuff they are truly proud of. And as far as ending chapters, boy they did a good job.
Foo Fighters have not let fans down with the songs on this rapidly produced surprise collection. They have achieved their usual vocal sound fueled with a passion for creating great music and they haven’t strayed from their ability to make rock so addictive.
‘Saint Cecilia’ is the first track in the collection and the one that is potentially the most memorable. It follows the classic Foo Fighters style through beginning with Dave’s vocals and guitar, and then all other instruments are added, coming in with simple repetitions of sound such as repeated cymbal beats and guitar sounds. The instruments build volume, drums are added, the pace quickens and then the song is released into the chorus. Towards the end of the song in the last chorus the chorus is loaded with fire and shouting the words ‘Saint Cecilia’. I believe this track is the best from the collection and the one most likely to resonate in popular music. ‘Sean’ begins by sounding like ‘Monkey Wrench’. It is a fast-paced song, and is only just over 2 minutes long. It is possibly a more easy-listening song as far as the Foo’s go. Having said this, the song gets pretty funky at 50 seconds in. The third song is super heavy and a proper representation of how the band can create true rock music. The name ‘Saviour Breath’ is a play on words as when sung it sounds like ‘save your breath’, representing the passion in the song. ‘Iron Rooster’ is much more mellow, and the pace has slowed massively compared to ‘Sean’. The song is emotional, and seems to draw on real experiences. It also provides the opportunity for the band to execute their talents on their instruments in a different way to normal, as often with the band, the music all together is loud and powerful. This song demonstrates how they are not restricted to heavy rock, they can strip their sound down to be a very real, raw creation, which displays the emotion that comes hand in hand with this signifier of an end of an era for the band.
The positivity and hopefulness is brought back through the finishing fifth track ‘The Neverending Sigh’ which leaves the EP perfectly finished, like a story with a happy ending. The song lyrics illustrate an ending, but ‘neverending’ shows that whatever the end is, it is incomplete. Fingers crossed this represents the future return of Foo Fighters, and that this is not the end. The song also begins with the lyrics ‘Hello, it’s me’… Is that a coincidence or…
‘Saint Cecilia’ EP is certainly not polished to perfection but it’s refreshing to hear something straight from the studio where Foo Fighters are at their most creative. It demonstrates the ability of the band to create great music with diverse sounds, even in a short space of time. Other fans might be left wanting more, and Foo Fighters can’t help that some will be left disappointed from the cancellation of events over the last year, but for me, this EP really makes up for what the band have had to sacrifice and shows the extent to which they care. Foo Fighters simply want to share their work and involve us in their journey. Even though it may be void of top notch editing, they wanted to give something back to show their sincere gratitude for all their support. Alongside the EP on their website, there is a link to donate to causes following the events in Paris, to show sorrow and solemn support that the band stand by those in need.
“This project has now taken on an entirely different tone. As has everything, it seems…There is a new, hopeful intention that, even in the smallest way, perhaps these songs can bring a little light into this sometimes dark world. To remind us that music is life, and that hope and healing go hand in hand with song. That much can never be taken away.” – Dave Grohl