Sunday, November 22, 2020

Foo Fighters – Shame Shame - Single Review

Last weekend, The Foo Fighters performed their new single for the first time on Saturday Night Live. ‘Shame Shame’ is one of nine tracks on their upcoming album, ‘Medicine at Midnight’, which is set to drop 5th February 2021.

On a first listen, ‘Shame Shame’ subverts the expectations of Foo Fighters fans with its subtlety and unusual sense of groove. The stripped back verses leave you waiting for a burst of colour, which the track thankfully provides with a chorus that offers hypnotic chord sequences and a richer texture. Nevertheless, the song builds up and up to the point where you might expect a wall of sound to hit at any moment, but it never comes. Instead, the music pulls all the way back, settling into its funkier ‘shame’ refrain once more.

‘Shame Shame’ isn’t the kind of instant classic that immediately lures you in, but the kind of understated track from a band whose sound continues to evolve and mature. It’s only after a few repeat listens, that you begin to appreciate the complex drum arrangement, the eerily calm vocal performance and the piercing lyrics that make this track different to anything the Foo Fighters have ever produced.

It’s no secret that the Foo Fighters are legendary live performers, and that is especially important for this track. Where it feels as though the quieter verses of the recorded single are lacking in energy, they seem to buzz with electricity and anticipation when actually performed live.

That said, the choruses are by far the stand-out part of the song.

These more melodic sections act as a welcome refuge from the repeated ‘shame shame’, which seeks to embody the relentlessness of shame and its way of getting under the skin. While the ‘shame’ refrain is effective, the voice and guitar whining the word softly in unison, its repetitiveness makes it less compelling. Instead, you find yourself craving the mesmerizing draw of a more textured and harmonically interesting chorus section.

Those who prefer a more hard rock vibe might choose to skip this track, but fans who appreciate the Foo Fighters’ ability to reinvent their sound time and time again should not be disappointed. The Foos Fight on!

- Hannah McGreevy


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