Looking Back on Foo Fighters’ Transparent ‘But Here We Are’

Foo Fighters have eclipsed their former selves. Somehow, in the midst of both tragedy and triumph, the rock band found their sweet spot and created a record that became an easy choice of soundtrack for our year at large.

Since their start, back when the band was Dave Grohl and Dave Grohl only, emotion is what drove the music, riffs, and melodies. His voice carried burdens, but held onto hope. That has not changed. The weight of the performance in But Here We Are is still supremely heavy, but it comes across in a way that welcomed – more like a trendy 15-pound blanket than a shoulder-slumping stress. As fans, we went into this album with an open mind and open arms, and we allowed ourselves to accept the grief that was intertwined with the profound, sprawling hard rock soundscapes and come to terms with it. Just as how Grohl and the band turned to music to heal, so did we, and But Here We Are became the much-needed pinnacle of our healing.

This album, their 11th, was able to evoke the most visceral reaction upon first listen. How many songs – let alone entire LPs – from any artist has clouded your senses immediately? Foo Fighters did that in an incredible way. But Here We Are is thought-provoking and haunting, borderline cinematic in how it breathes new life into already victorious rock band. From singles like “Rescued” to album highlights like “Nothing At All,” this record feels like a sincere resurrection of what art should always be: an earnest, healing, community-driven form of expression.

Think about what you know of their 2021 and 2022 happenings, now look at the album title and the song names. It’s an honest, ambient divulgence with few ‘read between the lines’ moments. The band followed their rockstar hearts and their basic instincts to live their truth and almost level the playing field between them and the fans.

On this album, like that very first self-titled debut, Foo Fighters are grabbing the hands of their audience and holding on tightly, not denying the shared despair that came with sudden, public, cataclysmic heartbreak and the harsh reality of such. This is a band of brothers as much as it is a band of individual musicians, so they put much of what they felt in what they released. It’s always been a give-and-take situation when it came to Foo Fighters. Everything they knew, loved, experienced, and absorbed, they put right back into the songs for the world to enjoy, learn from, and hold onto. Whether it was celebrating their influences within the industry (IE: the entire Sonic Highways project) or exploring the unexpected (In recent years: making a movie, becoming a disco outfit), Foo Fighters allowed us into their world, never shying away from being themselves at any point in their storied career – one we are forever grateful for continuing on.

Grohl’s screams have gotten increasingly gritty over the years of touring and recording and touring and recording, but that grit, gravel, and rasp has never resonated as strongly as now. Those lengthy shouts and voice cracks mixed in with the occasional vulnerable harmony emphasize the emotion. It has always brought character to both the hits and deep cuts, yet it’s hard to deny that it isn’t more compelling and arguably relatable in this But Here We Are era. Foo Fighters didn’t reinvent the wheel, of course, as more than a number of bands have returned from all sorts of loss with great music, but not many have done so in a way the was as authentic, profound, and swift as these Hall of Famers. They had a chance to let sleeping dogs lay, close a few doors, and evolve in silence. That is not who these men are, though. Foo Fighters are sharper than ever, connected with their roots and each other, and one with the masses.