“I feel an earthquake coming on,” Dave Grohl sings on “Dirty Water,” a moment of fragile guitar poetry from Foo Fighters’ ninth album. Of course, keeping things steady amid chaos has been one of Grohl’s signature themes since the Foos were born from the wreckage of Nirvana a couple of forevers ago. Musically and emotionally, Concrete and Gold is their most balanced record yet – from stadium-punk dive bombers like “Run” and “La Dee Da” to the acoustic soul that opens “T-Shirt,” in which Grohl gets his Nina Simone on, singing, “I don’t wanna be king/I just wanna sing a love song.” “Sunday Rain” is a guitar weeper so late-Beatles great it even has Paul McCartney playing drums on it.
co-writer Greg Kurstin’s production adds big-studio texture without diluting
the band’s raw tumult; even Justin Timberlake’s appearance – as a backing
vocalist on the space-truckin’ “Make It Right” – is subtle rather
than ostentatious. The highlight is “The Sky Is a Neighborhood,” a
hulking dream-metal anthem: “Trouble to the right and left,” Grohl
sings, driving into the darkness with a Bic lighter raised to the heavens.