Song of the Week delves into the fresh songs we just can’t get out of our heads. Find these tracks and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist, and for our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Foo Fighters make their grand return after a period of mourning with “Rescued.”
It almost seemed too soon. Around the one year anniversary mark of Taylor Hawkins’ untimely death, Foo Fighters announced brand new headlining dates and began teasing new material. Now, they’ve revealed the title of their forthcoming album, But Here We Are, out on June 2nd, and shared the LP’s lead single, “Rescued.” It’s clear that the band arrives again with a much heavier weight on them than usual, sharing in a statement that these songs represent “the first chapter of the band’s new life,” after a process that “was as therapeutic as it was about a continuation of life.”
“Rescued,” then, is appropriately anthemic — but if fans were expecting a “life-affirming” Foo Fighters return that trades the band’s grief-addled anguish for blind positivity, then they’d be wrong. Instead, “Rescued” feels like Foo Fighters at their most weathered. It’s miles away from the hybrid dance-rock of their most recent album, Medicine at Midnight; though some fans have posited that “Rescued” is a hearkening back to Foo Fighters’ first two albums, it’s more closely aligned with the sour chords and explosive numbers off the band’s 2005 album, In Your Honor.
From its opening verse, the band sounds bewildered, fraught, angry, and confused. Grohl is instantly at his grated hard rock best, escalating as he cries “It happened so fast/ and then it was over” atop a furious groove. The pre-chorus follows suit, until the refrain levels the song and Grohl is back to his warm lower register. He sings of wanting to be saved and brought back to life, like the past year’s grief has dimmed his light and rendered him hopeless.
But “Rescued” as a whole is far from hopeless. If anything, Foo Fighters have never sounded more vital. As they launch into the song’s blistering post-chorus, there is an intoxicating power in the band’s open-hearted delivery — the same one that has characterized the band’s biggest hits, like “Best of You,” “The Pretender,” and “Everlong.” When processing such a devastating loss, it’d be easy for a band with a 25+ year history to ask themselves, “What do we do now?,” and come up with something solemn and introverted. But as Foo Fighters wisely foretold on the title of their third album, there is nothing left to lose. So, the band wants to rail against the absorbing pain of grief, huddle close together, and play like it could be their final outing.
This tormented and unity-driven spirit is what guides “Rescued.” It’s also fascinating to once again hear Dave Grohl ruminate on death. He’s dealt with this feeling before — but he’s no longer a 25 year old drummer coming off the biggest spotlight he’d ever seen. Now, he’s the frontman of the very coping mechanism that brought him out of those depths nearly 30 years ago. That pillar of stability and structure feels less certain; the band must find a new way to survive together after all this time.
They’re waiting to be rescued not by some unknown or unseen force. They’re asking their fans. They’re asking each other. And against all odds, they sound truly, unequivocally alive.
— Paolo Ragusa