Here’s What We Know About Foo Fighters’ Concrete and Gold
Foo Fighters are back next month with Concrete and Gold, the group’s ninth album and first since 2014’s Sonic Highways. The alternative rock legends’ upcoming effort features a few intriguing storylines, including Dave Grohl’s period of seclusion after breaking his leg, the decision to bring in the producer of Adele’s “Hello,” and a high-profile collaboration that Grohl has remained tight-lipped about. Before Concrete and Gold’s September 15 release, here is a rundown of everything we know about the record.
The album is 11 songs long.
3. Make It Right
4. The Sky Is a Neighborhood
5. La Dee Da
6. Dirty Water
8. Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)
9. Sunday Rain
10. The Line
11. Concrete and Gold
Two have been officially released, and another two have been played live.
Here’s what the cover looks like.
The minimalistic album art follows the tradition of the Foo Fighters rarely appearing on their own album covers. The only exception is 2011’s Wasting Light, which captured the band in an artistically altered portrait.
Dave Grohl started writing Concrete and Gold as he recovered from his broken leg.
Grohl broke his leg when he fell off stage during a show in Sweden in 2015 and continued to perform while seated on a “throne.” The frontman’s leg didn’t make it back to 100 percent, and the Foo Fighters went on hiatus as Grohl stepped away from music to physically heal.
Grohl cut the planned year-long sabbatical to six months and rented an Airbnb in Ojala, California to get started writing Concrete and Gold in isolation. “I don’t think I was inspired at first,” he told Rolling Stone. “I just felt like I was creatively atrophied and had to start to exercise in order to wake the muscle up. After maybe 12 or 13 ideas, I send them to the guys and ask, ‘Am I crazy? Or is this a record?’ They say, ‘Both.'”
The album’s title refers to its theme.
Grohl explained to BBC Radio 6 Music that Concrete and Gold encapsulates the “sort of a theme within the eleven songs that goes from beginning to end, so this is kind of the resolve of the entire record.” The hook of the title track, the album’s closer, goes, “I have an engine made of gold, something so beautiful. The world will never know. Our roots are stronger than you know. Up through the concrete we will grow.”
Boyz II Men will make an appearance.
Well, one of them does. Grohl told BBC 6 Radio’s Shaun Keaveny’s that he ran into Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman in a random parking lot and asked him to appear on the album. As a result, Stockman appears on Concrete and Gold’s “heaviest song.” Grohl said Stockman built a choir stacked with 40 voices that results to something that “sounds like Sabbath and Pink Floyd.” Cooleyhighharmony will meet metal on Concrete and Gold.
Greg Kurstin is Concrete and Gold’s producer.
Kurstin produced Sia’s breakout single “Chandelier,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” and most famously, Adele’s “Hello.” Grohl had been listening to Kurstin’s work with his indie band, the Bird and the Bee, since 2014.
The Beatle plays drums on “Sunday Rain,” and the Kill delivers vocals on “La Dee Da” and “The Sky Is a Neighborhood.” Foo Fighters have already played “Sunday Rain” and “La Dee Da,” sans McCartney and Mosshart, in live performances.
Concrete and Gold also has another another collaborator, who Grohl once considered “the biggest pop star in the world.”
In another BBC Radio 1 interview back in June, Dave Grohl teased that their latest album would feature “the biggest pop star in the world.” He walked back on his comments in a Rolling Stone July interview, saying the person “is more than that.” It’s been rumored that it was either Taylor Swift or Adele (the latter because of the Kurstin connection), but Grohl shot those down. Another possibility that still stands, though, is Lady Gaga, who’s been chummy with Grohl in the past.
Update (2:10 p.m. Eastern, 9/6): It turns out that pop star is Justin Timberlake. A Rolling Stone profile revealed that Grohl and Timberlake became buds during the recording process. He contributes some “la la la’s” to an album cut.
This is be Rami Jaffee’s first album as an official Foo Fighter.
The keyboardist has been appearing as a session musician on Foo Fighter albums since 2005’s In Your Honor. Jaffee has also worked with acts like the Wallflowers, Pete Yorn, and Coheed and Cambria.
On Concrete and Gold, Foo Fighters get political.
His time writing in California just so happens to fall within a period of political chaos. “It happened at the perfect time,” he also told Rolling Stone. “I was inspired by what was going on with our country – politically, personally, as a father, an American and a musician. There was a lot to write about.” Grohl has also described Concrete and Gold as a “Motorhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper.“
Update (2:10 p.m. Eastern, 9/6): Grohl explained that “T-Shirt,” the album’s opener, came after Trump’s inauguration. “I watched the infamous press conference in the East Room – the one that turned into a screaming match,” he told Rolling Stone. “The fucking WWE one. All that gross ambition for power and control freaked me out. I was like, ‘Oh, my God. This is what we’ve become.'” “La Dee Da” is “a portrait of me as a teenager, feeling completely alienated and repressed by the conservative environment of the early to mid-Eighties.”