Album Review: But Here We Are
Written by Julie Marasco
This week we’re going to sit and reflect on what a heavy year it’s been musically, especially for the Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl since the passing of drummer Taylor Hawkins last year, in addition to Virginia, Grohl’s mother. This is Foo Fighters’ eleventh album, But Here We Are.
After recording eight albums and spending 25 years with the Foo Fighters, it’s evident that Hawkins left his mark on the band. So when his death occurred, there was only one appropriate way to honor him. 48 minutes and eight seconds of raw vulnerability spread across 10 painstaking tracks, we hear Grohl’s turbulent journey with grief. A minimalistic album cover that truly allows the weight of the music to speak for itself.
There’s no hesitation with this one. Immediately with the first track and verse of “Rescued” we know what we’re going to unpack with this album.
“It came in a flash
It came out of nowhere
It happened so fast
And then it was over”
There’s truly no wrong or right way to grieve. With Hawkins about to perform a show the night he died, it’s unimaginable how Grohl had to process how he would never be able to perform with his best friend and musical soulmate ever again. As a former drummer for Nirvana, Grohl is no stranger to the death of his bandmates as he suffered the loss of frontman Kurt Cobain. In lieu of Hawkins’ drumming, Grohl, I think, is the only acceptable person to perform at the drummer’s throne for this album.
The most devastating song on the album in my opinion, is “The Glass.” Not only do you hear the pain aching from Grohl’s voice, we learn just how much Grohl truly idolized Hawkins and the love he had for him.
“I had a version of home, and just like that
I was left to live without it, left to live without it
I had a person I loved, and just like that
I was left to live without him, left to live without him”
Grohl frequently talks about how Foo Fighters is a home and family to him, and with the loss of both Virgina and Hawkins, we see all the things that once grounded the frontman starting to slip away. All he can do is watch from the other side of the glass while everyone he ever loved slips away. If that doesn’t make you want to grab a box of tissues, I don’t know what to tell you.
With the past few albums, some fans have felt the band has lost some spark since its The Colour and The Shape (1997 album) era. I think throughout the album we see Grohl trying to reconnect to the band’s roots with tracks like “Under You” (my personal favorite) and “Nothing At All.” Whether it’s because he’s trying to salvage what’s left of the painting without his better half, or this was the push Grohl needed to say goodbye to Hawkins-era-Foos, Grohl mastered the mission.
The album concludes with “Rest,” a soft acoustic almost lullaby-sounding song that exemplifies Hawkins and Grohl finally parting ways physically, but not spiritually. It feels like we’re right at the funeral with him.
“Waking up, bottom of an empty cup
Laying in your favorite clothes chosen just for you
Make you laugh, maybe I could make you laugh
Books of faded photographs, moments saved for you
Angel dust, tiny little paper cuts
Close my eyes and feel your touch, holding on to you
Rest, you can rest now
Rest, you will be safe now”
The reassurance of finding peace safely within the afterlife is so beautifully depicted. Throughout the 43 minutes prior, we hear Grohl’s difficulties with the disbelief of death, feeling alienated, the uncertainty of his future, wanting a safety net, but later on realizing life and death is an unfortunate yet inevitable truth we all have to face, to finally accepting he is still lucky to be alive to carry on Hawkins’ legacy. Basically saying, “I know I’ve been struggling, but I got it from here.” The outro of the album portrays a beautiful goodbye that left me speechless.
“Waking up, had another dream of us
In the warm Virginia sun, there I will meet you”
Grohl watched some of his biggest heroes disappear and gain their angel wings. Yet, this masterpiece of a tribute forever immortalizes their legacies.