It’s funny to remember Dave Grohl got his start with Nirvana, because of how distinctly a separate identity his Foo Fighters have crafted over the years. Their close association with Nirvana’s anarchic legacy gave them punkish cred, even when they were making meat-and-potatoes hard rock; now that Grohl has proudly picked up the torch, years later, to champion the values of “real music,” his classicist bonafides seem obvious when revisiting their early catalogue. (“My Hero” is as great and thoughtful of a jock rock song that could’ve ever been penned in a post-Nirvana world.)
“Run,” a new song released Thursday morning, follows in their classic tradition. There’s a twinkling, tender introduction, before some pounded drums presage the speakers going to 11. Grohl finds his screaming register, which he’s deployed more frequently over the years; the passages of all-out thrashing give way to melodic interludes, following by more thrashing and some distended, tortured soloing. The lyric—”In another perfect life / In another perfect light / We run”—recall the melancholic yearn of their finest moments. In other words, could everything feel this way forever? There are some vague political allusions—”We are the nation’s stakes / If everything’s erased / What you gonna do?”—though they’re easily subsumed by the rocking.
It even has a characteristically goofy video, in which the band play senior citizens in a retirement home. It was directed by Grohl, doesn’t at all fit the tone of the song, and yet doesn’t feel out of place. “Run” isn’t as memorable as their best songs, but it’ll sound massive at festivals, and fits firmly in their context. When you’ve been around as long as they have, you can revel in being yourself, especially when you can still give this much energy in a song.