The Foo Fighters release brutally honest and emotionally raw But Here We Are!
Review by Ike Thomas
Uncertainty is an absolute. With a title declaring resilience, the Foo Fighter’s But Here We Are plants
their flag forcefully and deeply in the interplanetary ground of rock legends while fully laying bare their
very own human vulnerabilities and openly sharing them with their legions of fans worldwide. These
emotions and resulting music surely sat heavily, born upon some very strong shoulders before it was
able to be lifted up and released. So much so that “music” seems too light a word for this endeavor.
But Here We Are is, for obvious reasons, filled with lyrics that are very honest and intentional. Dave
Grohl’s voice sits well in the tracks with his familiar doubled vocals occupying their own space in the mix
and making the very personal, earnest lyrics easily definable for the listener, finding their way over the
powerful instrument tracks that you’ve come to expect from Foo Fighters.
It would be understood if anyone was expecting an album of downbeat, mournful songs bordering on
dirges. But this is Foo Fighters and they are going to bring the rock, delivering an album with plenty of
upbeat songs while still lyrically dealing with loss and change. This juxtaposition works to create a
fascinating balance throughout and accurately conveys understandably conflicted feelings and,
ultimately, a seemingly possible metamorphosis. Thus, But Here We Are manages to avoid the feel of a
one-off, purpose defined album while addressing the obvious and finding the pace that will allow Dave
Grohl to still openly and frequently invite concert goers to “dance M***Fers!”.
With the well documented untimely loss of Taylor Hawkins, Dave Grohl is back behind the kit for the
drum tracks on this album. Immediately noticeable is the stylistic difference between the two. While
Taylor Hawkins preferred to employ his toms for fills and flash, Dave Grohl leans heavily on his Howitzer-sized sounding snare drum and plenty of cymbal action. There is a primal, cathartic feel to the drumming on this album that is distinctly Dave Grohl, driving the songs along with perfect precision and tremendous power.
Greg Kurstin is once again co-producing along with Foo Fighters. Thusly, But Here We Are is stylized with
his preferred wetted effects, long tail reverbs and multiple layers of delays skillfully applied, all working
well to define the atmosphere while not quite as heavy handed on saturation as with the previous
Concrete and Gold.
But Here We Are opens with “Rescued”, a massive soundtrack underpinning plaintive lyrics, sung with an
earnest desperation not lost on those who know. The album then rolls right on with the high energy
“Under You”. Both songs are destined to fire up concert crowds for many years ahead, if that’s in the
The album stays strong throughout with terrific song craft, composition, and musicianship. The
syncopated title track “But Here We Are” vaguely conceals a strong nod to the influence of Rush. “Nothing At All” builds tension like a spring slowly, tightly coiling before releasing and repeating. Later on, Violet Grohl’s singing talent is on full display on the song “Show Me How”, providing a beautifully
ethereal, lilting accompanying vocal track. If any vocalist ever tries to tell you they could have done it
better, know now they are lying.
And to hear a 10+ minute song, “The Teacher”, is such a treat. These are the things that define Foo
Fighters as artists. Their songs are very clearly not written with regard for optimizing streaming
monetization, sync licensing, or any of the other strategic factors too often present in today’s musical
rat race. The song is deep, it is meaningful, and deserving of every second of its full composition.
Resignation and finality wind down the album, providing a fitting conclusion to But Here We Are in the
form of the song “Rest”.
Having endured the loss of his mother and, also, his best friend and band mate, Taylor Hawkins, Dave
Grohl and the rest of Foo Fighters have responded by delivering the best tribute imaginable, a Foo
Fighter’s album for the ages.
Fulfilling, introspective, and forward facing, But Here We Are is a large, resilient, and confident stride
down the trail of uncertainty that is the human existence and a damn fine, highly listenable rock album.
“Trust that all is for the best, for we carry our fate with us – and it carries us,” – Marcus Aurelius