Album Review: Foo Fighters – But Here We Are

The Foos start to heal on an emotional gut punch of a record that bleeds heart and soul

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“It came in a flash / It came out of nowhere,” Dave Grohl sings over the opening bars of ‘Rescued’, the introduction to Foo Fighters’ latest album, But Here We Are.

The band’s first since the tragic passing of drummer Taylor Hawkins in March 2022 – and the loss of Grohl’s mother just a few months later – it signals a new chapter in the rock legends’ career, a brutally honest and painfully raw response to the events of the last year.

Foo Fighters - Rescued (Visualizer)

Written during a period of deep personal introspection, But Here We Are marks the first time that Grohl has penned lyrics for an album before its music came together. Moving through the stages of grief, capturing each as vividly as the last, from denial, sorrow, and rage to acceptance, the album is an emotional gut punch; backed by some of the band’s most impassioned performances in years.

“Pictures of us sharing songs and cigarettes / This is how I’ll always picture us”, the frontman declares on punk-infused earworm ‘Under You’, with haunting post-punk tinged ‘Hearing Voices’ dialling up the vulnerability before settling into a soft piano outro. ‘The Glass’ sees Grohl battling with confusion as he pens a bittersweet remembrance to his former bandmate and close friend, whilst ‘Show Me How’ sees his eldest daughter, Violet, provide vocal harmonies on a beautiful ode to continuing life in the absence of loved ones.

Capturing snapshots of memories throughout the album’s duration, its 10 songs feel like a vital healing process. Its members united through creation and musical catharsis, ‘But Here We Are’ rings out with the sincerity and unflinching authenticity of Foo Fighters’ 1995 debut, vividly coloured by the maturity, experience, musicianship, growth, and love felt through their 28 years.

It’s a sentiment perhaps best encapsulated in ‘The Teacher’, a 10-minute track dedicated to Grohl’s mother. Building to a roaring crescendo before dropping the pace and repeating its gradual build, its sonic ebbs and flows mirror the waves of emotion that come with grief. “You showed me how to breathe but never showed me how to say goodbye”, Grohl cries, and as the song nears its end the frontman repeatedly screams his farewells, his acceptance washed away in a sea of distortion.

With tender acoustic closer ‘Rest’ delivering a heartfelt final send off, the eleventh album from Grohl and co. is unlike any other. A visceral account of grief, though deeply personal, ‘But Here We Are’ is intensely universal. Celebrating lives that have been lost, and the wonder that any of us are even here to begin with, it’s a distinctly human record shaded by naivety and gratitude. A marker of Foo Fighters’ tenacity, endurance, and ability to create art that unites and inspires, it’s a poignant testament to the power of music.

Released: 2 June 2023
Label: Sony
On Tour: Dates TBC