The strength of Foo Fighters lies in the strong connections between its membersMr. Rossi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Foo Fighters is a band built on grief. Formed after Kurt Cobain’s suicide and the subsequent dissolution of Nirvana, the group allegedly sprung from drummer Dave Grohl’s decision in 1994 to write and record an entire album in one week. Initially, band members came and went, from Sunny Day Real Estate’s Nate Mendel to Alanis Morisette’s touring drummer, Taylor Hawkins. Eventually, however, a proper lineup emerged, resulting in a six-piece stadium band whose fellowship was their strength.

“Like the band’s debut, this record grapples with an insurmountable loss”

In particular, Grohl’s friendship with Hawkins often stole the limelight. In music videos, the duo played around in ludicrous costumes, from a married couple in ‘Everlong’ to raging flight attendants in ‘Learn To Fly’, while their backstage antics prompted hundreds of compilation tributes to the two online. Then, in March 2022, as Foo Fighters prepared to play a festival in Bogotá, Columbia, Hawkins was found unresponsive in his hotel room and – just hours later – declared dead. An autopsy suggested cardiovascular collapse.

In the ensuing chaos, fans started to wonder whether this spelled the end of the band. These fears were only intensified when, in August, Grohl’s mother passed away. However, what instead resulted was But Here We Are: a ten-song exploration of his grief. Like the band’s debut, this record grapples with an insurmountable loss. However, this time, it also carries the weight of an uncertain future.

As always, Grohl’s lyrics are brimming with poeticism. However, instead of the characteristic playfulness of tracks like ‘Monkey Wrench’ and ‘For All The Cows’, Grohl reveals a newfound maturity to his lyrics. From the disillusionment of ‘Rescued’ (“We’re all free to some degree to dance under the lights / I’m just waitin’ to be rescued”) to the quiet introspection of ‘Hearing Voices’ (“I’ve been hearing voices / None of them are you”), the rawness of these songs ripples under the weight of Grohl’s, Pat Smear’s and Chris Shiflett’s intertwining guitars. The record’s ultimate punch to the gut comes during the final song, ‘Rest’, wherein slow opening chords fissure into a mighty crash of noise and distortion. Its closing lyrics are a crushingly bittersweet message to those Grohl has lost: “Wakin’ up, had another dream of us / In the warm Virginia sun, there I will meet you”.

“As always, Grohl’s lyrics are brimming with poeticism”

The record dropped on 02 June, only three weeks after the release of its opening track ‘Rescued’, which was shortly followed by three more singles. This marketing strategy of dropping a litany of singles before a big release is by no means new but detracts from any sense of cohesion. A more instantaneous release would have allowed the album the emotional sucker punch it clearly wants to serve. There is no way around it – with its steady ascent to a heart-wrenching climax, this is an album to be listened to in full.


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There are also very few innovations in instrumentation. The songs seem to mirror the band’s previous work, excluding their recent heavy metal alter ego, Dream Widow, and their 2021 Bee Gees tribute record as the Dee Gees, Hail Satin. Indeed, compared to the scope of these recent releases, this record’s commitment to the “classic Foo Fighters sound” initially feels disappointing. However, it also raises the question: what would be the point of plunging into ultra-experimental territory when that is clearly not the album’s intent?

The Foo Fighters of But Here We Are are not trying to reinvent themselves; they are trying to survive. This record is not just a tribute to Hawkins but to the continuity of the band. What springs from its riffs and harmonies is not hopelessness but, as the closing lines of ‘Rest’ remind us, acceptance. But Here We Are assures us that giving up is not an option. Foo Fighters won’t be putting down their guitars any time soon.