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Foo Fighters: Concrete and Gold

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: RCA Records
Released: 2017.09.15
Category: Rock
Producer(s): Greg Kurstin, Foo Fighters
Media type: CD
Web address: www.foofighters.com
Appears with:
Purchase date: 2018
Price in €: 1,00

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] T-Shirt (Foo Fighters) - 1:22
[2] Run (Foo Fighters) - 5:23
[3] Make It Right (Foo Fighters) - 4:39
[4] The Sky Is a Neighborhood (Foo Fighters) - 4:04
[5] La Dee Da (Foo Fighters) - 4:02
[6] Dirty Water (Foo Fighters) - 5:20
[7] Arrows (Foo Fighters) - 4:26
[8] Happy Ever After (Zero Hour) (Foo Fighters) - 3:41
[9] Sunday Rain (Foo Fighters) - 6:11
[10] The Line (Foo Fighters) - 3:38
[11] Concrete and Gold (Foo Fighters) - 5:31

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

Dave Grohl - Lead Vocals, Guitars, Producer
Chris Shiflett - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Producer
Pat Smear - Rhythm Guitar, Producer
Nate Mendel - Bass, Producer
Taylor Hawkins - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals on [9], Producer
Rami Jaffee - Arp String Ensemble, Casio, Clavinet, Farfisa Organ, Hammond B3, Harmonium, Mellotron, Moog Synthesizer, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Pump Organ, Synthesizer, Vibraphone, Wurlitzer, Producer

Justin Timberlake - Backing Vocals on [3]
Shawn Stockman - Vocals on [11]
Inara George - Vocals on [6]
Alison Mosshart - Vocals on [4,5]
Dave Koz - Saxophone on [5]
Paul McCartney - Drums on [9]
Taylor Greenwood - Backing Vocals on [1]
Greg Sierpowski - Optigan on [8]
Kinga Bacik - Cello on [4]
Thomas Lea - Viola on [4]
Ginny Luke - Violin on [4]
Jessy Greene - Violin on [8,10], Cello on [11]
Greg Kurstin - Synth Bass & Vibraphone on [10]

Greg Kurstin - Producer
Alex Pasco - Engineer
Brendan Dekora - Engineer
Darrell Thorp - Engineer, Mixing, Mastering
Julian Burg - Engineer
Samon Rajabnik - Engineer
Chaz Sexton - Assistant Engineer
David Ives - Mastering
Andy Carne - Art Direction, Design, Artwork
Brantley Gutierrez - Photography

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

2017 CD Roswell Records 88985-45601-2
2017 CD RCA 88985-45601-2

Recorded between December 2016 – May 2017 at the EastWest Studios (Hollywood, California).

Anybody as obsessed with musical chops as Dave Grohl would inevitably drift toward prog rock, which is precisely what happens with Foo Fighters on their ninth album. Perhaps "prog" doesn't seem like an easy fit for Foo Fighters, who have melded furious noise with candied melodies since their 1995 debut, but Concrete and Gold is filled with showy accents that accentuate the acumen of all six musicians. Hooks abound, whether they're in the grinding guitars or triple-stacked vocal harmonies, but they're not molded into songs that resemble tunes. Take "Dirty Water," which begins as a piece of dreamy twilight psychedelia but winds up as a cloistered vamp goosed along by analog synths straight out of 1975. It's as if the Foos are so impatient to offer a twist they'll sabotage a straight song with a quick left turn or gleeful self-indulgence. Coming after Sonic Highways, where the group stuck to the straight and narrow, it's frankly a bit of a relief to have Foo Fighters offer an album full of detours, even if they're winding up redefining the character of the band. Plenty of familiar elements are in place -- "Run" speeds by with hardcore velocity, the tightly wound riffs on "Make It Right" function as a virtual Josh Homme tribute, "The Line" can serve as inspirational rock for long drives or workouts -- but the Foos piece them together in a way that suggests the bandmembers are bored with themselves. Add to that harmonies straight out of Abbey Road -- not just vocals but stacked guitars -- and allusions to the slow, spacy crawl of Pink Floyd, highlighted by how Concrete and Gold comes crashing into focus in a fashion similar to "In the Flesh?" and crawls to a close with an extended Dark Side of the Moon salute. In between, Foo Fighters show that they're in love with light and shade, fury and quiet, every twist and turn they can make with their instruments, and even if Concrete and Gold isn't about much more than that, it's refreshing to hear the Foos embrace Grohl's allegiance to real rock values to the logical flashing conclusion.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine - All Music Guide

He has been in two of the biggest rock bands of all time, but it’s clear that Dave Grohl remains an unjaded, over-the-top rock fan (witness his recent appearance in the pit at a Metallica show). Only somebody who grew up under the protective umbrella of album-oriented rock FM radio could pull off an inspired cover to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” or jam with Paul McCartney and Rick Springfield with equal aplomb. (McCartney even makes an appearance on this new album.) Live, it seems like Grohl and the rest of Foo Fighters would rather pound listeners with their version of the Stones’ “Miss You”—culminating in a goes-on-for-slightly-too-long jam—than to try to win them over on the new stuff. It’s a tactic that has won the band more accolades for incendiary live shows than recent recorded output. But on their ninth album, Concrete And Gold, Foo Fighters go all in on that classic rock love, resulting in a batch of songs that uses the past to give the band new life.

That’s not obvious from first single “Run,” in which Grohl incorporates the start-quietly-then-get-really-loud dynamic he loves so well. Conceivably, “Run” could be a “Walk” sequel, but it shows the band in a similar rut, even as the Grohl-directed video depicts the track as a rage against going gentle into that good night. In his third decade of rock stardom, that’s likely a sentiment near and dear to Grohl’s heart. But he offers much more perspective on it in the album’s second single, “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” (his direction in the video is better, too), a song that’s no less fierce even with its slower, plodding backbeat. “Sky” openly pays homage to all the rock greats gone too soon (“a star burned out”) while Grohl faces the inevitability of his own mortality (“Oh, my dear, heaven is a big bang now / Gotta get to sleep somehow”). The Foos’ best track in years, it feels all the more powerful due to that striking sincerity.

Other cuts on the record see the band mining gold from the outfits of their collective youth: A hooky, T. Rex-worthy riff livens the hard rocks of “Make It Right.” The beginning of “Dirty Water,” with its softened vocals and Spanish-laced guitar line, recalls Steely Dan. These cuts explore new territory so well that it’s too bad Foo Fighters refrain from committing to them: Steely Dan wouldn’t rock out at the end, but Grohl and Co. somehow get there anyway. It makes sense—it must be more fun to rage after all the restraint—but the lyric “I’m a natural disaster” works better in hushed tones than in the surge that ends the song.

Playing like the polar opposite of “The Sky Is A Neighborhood,” “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)” sticks with its sweet, string-based melody. Grohl cautions, “There ain’t no superheroes now / They’re underground,” but the melody somehow makes the message sound comforting. With Paul McCartney on drums, Taylor Hawkins takes lead vocals on “Sunday Rain”—which has more in common with John Lennon’s solo stuff—and his higher-yet-powerful voice offers a dynamic departure for the band.

Other tracks see the Foos returning to more familiar territory. “La Dee Da” rants against the trappings of our horrific political climate, aided by stratosphere-escaping guitar. (The album suffers from no shortage of effects pedals.) People who complain about the Foos’ more recent albums sounding generic will find ammunition for their argument on “The Line,” a wannabe romantic epic that instead flails about repetitively, never catching. The imagery depicting the conflicted soul of “Arrows” doesn’t quite work (“She had arrows in her eyes / Tears in her arteries”), but piercing guitar lifts the cry of “Fire away!”

Everything settles on the album-ending title track. The best song Pink Floyd never wrote, “Concrete And Gold” is an uncomfortably numb orchestral composition that has the strength to maintain its slow, multilayered march to the end of the record (where listeners will be rewarded by audio of someone yelling, “Fuck you, Darrell!”—presumably Grohl yelling at engineer Darrell Thorp).

During Concrete And Gold’s one-minute opener, “T-Shirt,” Grohl says he just wants to sing some love songs (“you can sing along”), before a quick, multi-harmonied chorus kicks in. It’s a simple premise—most of rock is based on it. On Concrete And Gold, Grohl and the Foos rework rock history into an album that pays homage to, and uses their love for, the late greats to reinvigorate the band. It’s an album for rock fans and rock stars: The Foo Fighters rank among the best of both.

Gwen Ihnat - 9/15/2017
The A.V. Club

At the end of the sonic highway, David Eric Grohl found that the rock’n’roll spirit he’s spent the whole decade chasing was an era, not a place. After the Foo Fighters recorded 2011’s Wasting Light in his garage to invoke the ghost of his spotty punk teens, they set out across America making 2014’s Sonic Highways in some of the most storied and historic studios in the country, hoping rock magic was to be found clogging up Nashville microphones or ingrained into the antique mixing desk dials of Chicago, Seattle or NYC. Rock’n’roll wasn’t a tourist destination, it was the records that made you. It was Sgt Pepper and the White Album, The Dark Side Of The Moon and Paranoid; it was Led Zeppelin IV, Raw Power, Ace Of Spades and High Voltage. It was, by and large, the dark and magical festering pot of 1967-73, and for the Foos’ ninth album it would be here that Grohl and co.would mine sonic concrete and melodic gold.

Bizarrely bringing in Adele and Sia producer Greg Kurstin (of indie poppers The Bird And The Bee), the mission statement for Concrete And Gold was “where hard rock extremes and pop sensibilities collide [like] Motörhead’s version of Sgt Pepper”. The finished product is actually more like AC/DC having a crack at making their White Album, in that it’s as varied, expansive and crammed with drug-crusted invention as a band embedded in blues and hard rock can get. For a record relatively light on pop-rock stadium slayers, it’s also easily the Foos’ most elemental album yet.

Its trick is to frack the grungier seam of that fervid age of hard rock invention, the records straddling the turn of the 70s that drove a pickaxe of drugs and feedback into the brain of flower power and sounded like they were made by men who’d worked out that the devil had all the best heroin. Some parts of Concrete And Gold are shameless in their late/post-Beatles tributism – Sunday Rain could be the cast of Hair covering a cynical Lennon tune like I Found Out or Dig A Pony, the gorgeous acoustic shuffle Happy Ever After (Zero Hour) is an homage to Blackbird, I Will, Mother Nature’s Son and Across The Universe so reverential that it’s even in mono for the first verse. And for one billion kudos points he gets Paul McCartney drumming on an as-yet-undisclosed track. Because, presumably, he can.

Elsewhere, Concrete And Gold plays somewhat sillier – and more manipulative – buggers with its source material. Opener T-Shirt finds Grohl mimicking a gentle 60s Motown singer for the first 30 seconds, before 1973 Aerosmith invade the booth and ‘space harmonise’ the tune into the power ballad ether. The inevitable Zeppelin riffs merge with the inevitable Tommy power chords to create Make It Right, and there are some quite brilliant ‘what ifs’ here. what if Alice Cooper had made I Am The Walrus? You get the surprisingly enjoyable The Sky Is A Neighbourhood, an epic of orchestral anger and ominous squealing. What if Black Sabbath had ditched The Wizard and gotten heavily into Wizzard? That’ll be La Dee Da, a devil’s boogie.

Sabbath wouldn’t have needed to ditch the apocalyptic war stuff though; Grohl keeps an album so deeply rooted in the 60s/70s crossover fresh by inserting contemporary guests such as The Kills’ Allison Mosshart and The Bird And Bee’s Inara George (plus a secret appearance by “probably the biggest pop star in the world” – our money’s on Paul Nuttall), and by theming the album around the “hope and desperation” of America’s current political calamity. “You get what you deserve,” he tells his fellow Americans on T-Shirt, even going on to sketch a typical Trump supporter driven into the arms of jingoism by hardship and fear on the pounding Arrows. Elsewhere the album traces Trump’s trajectory to all sorts of terrifying potential conclusions, taking in environmental dangers (The Sky Is A Neighbourhood, Dirty Water), poverty (Make It Right) and rising international conflict (La Dee Da).

Grohl does emerge from the modern age with some glimmer of optimism and defiance, though. Come the title track finale – a sludge-rock go at Floyd’s Brain Damage/ Eclipse – he’s declaring ‘Our roots are stronger than you know/Up through the concrete we will grow’ over a great sky gig of gospel bombast that doesn’t quite have the melodic sparkle to live up to its Dark Side Of The Moon ambitions but certainly ties up the most cohesive consume-in-one-sitting Foo Fighters album in a decade. If Dave Grohl is an enduring icon of rocking through the hard times, we need him – and Concrete And Gold – now more than ever.

Mark Beaumont - 5 Sep 2017

You know, it’s not that Dave Grohl doesn’t care about music. That idea would seem preposterous to his zillions of fans. But he wins so often these days that it’s easy to forget what he’s lost: The Colour and the Shape, arguably his best album, came on the heels of his first marriage crumbling in 1997, and Foo Fighters’ 1995 debut was a testament to survival following the suicide of the then-drummer’s frontman/generational icon Kurt Cobain. “I’ll Stick Around”, his first hit pledged. It’s hard to argue he hasn’t kept that promise tenfold.

Or at least ninefold; Concrete and Gold marks Grohl’s ninth album, two decades after Shape and following several full-lengths that could make anyone question the Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, and Puff Daddy collaborator’s commitment to the craft itself as opposed to the dream life it affords him. There’s something to be said for Grohl’s sheer inability to fail, whether he breaks a leg on tour and turns that into a stage-throne gimmick itself on par with the late Solomon Burke’s revue, or how one of his least notable records (2007’s Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace) could come within spitting distance of an Album of the Year Grammy, possibly becoming Beck’s Morning Phase before Morning Phase existed. In other words, it can be bothersome that Grohl’s unchallenging, autopilot radio-rock that he pounds out in his sleep regularly sees a comparable success rate to that of Beyoncé, a megastar who still manages to look like she can’t catch a break even from an industry that worships her. Half of Grohl’s previous discography has been vindicated with Best Rock Album trophies.

No matter what you think of 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose, 2005’s In Your Honor, 2011’s Wasting Light, or 2014’s Sonic Highways though, there isn’t a song from one that couldn’t have been on another instead. The strained In Your Honor separated its acoustic and electric songs onto two discs like oil and water but that didn’t make them any more identifiable as tunes from In Your Honor; does the Prince-endorsed smash “Best of You” not sound like it could’ve come from just about any record Grohl has made? If Grohl himself didn’t tell us that Wasting Light was a raw, analog reclamation of roots or if Sonic Highways didn’t have a companion HBO series to showcase its many guests’ talents more than the tunes themselves did, there isn’t much reason that the best-in-show rockers “White Limo” and “The Feast and the Famine” couldn’t switch places.

So it’s with some kind of pleasure to report that Foo Fighters have finally made an album that sounds like itself, at least for a good chunk, as Concrete and Gold has a psychedelic, prog-metal feel for its opening bid that plays like an omnivore as privileged as Grohl finally got tired of making his Rolodex the story over the music itself. The soft-focus intro “T-Shirt” glides into the retro-arena pomp of the single “Run” the way “Doll” was once interrupted by “Monkey Wrench”. Then comes “Make It Right”, a boogie that finally stretches Grohl’s melodic capacities into unsuspecting chord changes that seesaw delightfully atop White Album harmonies that damn-near live up to his ID of this record as “Motörhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper.” Less surprising but equally distinct is “The Sky Is a Neighborhood”, which turns a Queens of the Stone Age-style dirge into a McCartney stomp-ballad, nicely threading together two of Grohl’s best buds. And speaking of Queens, that’s followed by “La Dee Da”, which steals Josh Homme’s bass frequencies and one-note power-drilling for a jam that resembles Ministry covering “Black Dog”.

The irony is that while the one-of-a-kind guest list (Paul McCartney! Justin Timberlake! Alison Mosshart! Boyz II Men?) and production of pop hitmaker Greg Kurstin must’ve surely inspired some of the curveballs here, we can’t audibly tell they’re there. McCartney drums, of all things, on “Sunday Rain”, while the Timberlake and Boyz II Men credits may as well be prank additions to the Concrete and Gold Wikipedia page.

The mix of classic rock nods and modern expensive-ass shit is far more distinct on Concrete and Gold than Sonic Highways; it actually places Grohl in some kind of lineage you can hear without opening his Wikipedia page in a tab. And the goodwill carries through the less distinct jams, keeping up the momentum for the motorik banging of “Dirty Water” and the backlit melody of “Arrows”. This is unquestionably Grohl’s best-sequenced album since The Colour and the Shape, with a sum of parts that doesn’t just improve the parts but actually feels like these songs need this album.

Normally that’s a minus; maybe “Run” won’t retain its throwback grandeur on their second greatest hits comp sandwiched inexplicably between “Rope” and “Congregation”. But Grohl’s music has cried out for, well, coloring and shaping for so long that it matter more that he’s finally sculpted an objet d’art, rather than Another Foo Fighters album. More than just about anyone in the genre, he’s free financially and creatively to do anything he wants. Maybe next time he’ll sing something political — In Your Honor was about campaigning for John Kerry, not that you’d know from listening to it. Maybe he’ll even sing something controversial. It’s about time the guy took a risk.

Dan Weiss - September 12, 2017

The best Foo Fighters songs always work exactly like Dave Grohl wants them to: Joy-buzzer power-pop hooks, thickly packaged guitars, a couple of throat-shredding screams—since he started the project in 1994, he has never shown much interest in doing something trickier. In this steady, somewhat plodding way, he’s built catalog deep enough for a greatest hits album and earned the mantle of World’s Most Okay Rock Band. What the Foos don’t offer in inspiration, they make up for it with durability and dependability. Hot dog, squirt of relish, daub of mustard, squishy bun—you make it the same way every time for a reason.

But over the last ten years, listening to Foo Fighters has begun to feel more like watching the Food Network than eating: You mostly yearn for what you’re not getting. As Grohl embraced his Ambassador of Rock role, joining awards show lineups and one-offs by the handful, his own music grew mushier and grainer. By 2014’s Sonic Highways, recorded as part of a documentary series traversing the country’s regional rock scenes, the transformation was complete: Foo Fighters albums were Dave Grohl’s enthusiastic PSAs about the life-changing power of other people’s rock music.

Concrete and Gold is their ninth album, and like Sonic Highways, it comes with an outsized goodwill gesture accompanying it: Grohl announced its release date along with the launch of a huge festival, a modern-rock update to the 1974 Cal Jam. He also recently revealed that he was planning to record the album in front of a live audience, before PJ Harvey’s similar Hope Six Demolition Project discouraged him. Nearly all new Foos albums come with one of these PR flourishes now, a near-tacit admission that a new album of Foo Fighters songs might not be news enough for anybody, even Grohl. But maybe having one of his campaigns derailed helped Grohl focus a bit: Concrete and Gold feels more interested in the granular details of rock songwriting and craft of rock album-making than anything the Foos have made in years.

The album begins with a faux-humble, aw-shucks bit of Grohllery: Over a few finger-picked acoustic guitar notes, he croons: “I don’t wanna be king/I just wanna sing a love song/Pretend there’s nothing wrong/You can sing along with me.” Seconds later comes the chandelier-shattering full band entrance, with a stack of vocal harmonies tall enough to demolish the Paradise Theatre. The flourish announces the polishing touch of Greg Kurstin, member of The Bird and the Bee and a pop producer flexible and collaborative enough for both Adele’s “Hello” and Kendrick Lamar’s “LOVE.”

Kurstin’s touch helps inject some flavor into the empty carbs larding Grohl’s songwriting, which remains a series of enthusiastic gestures that sometimes trip over each other. First single “Run” has one of Grohl’s biggest choruses in years, the kind of thing I would gladly holler along to in a stadium, and Kurstin sweetens it nicely with synth and piano. But the song lurches like a three-legged chair between that chorus and a gut-churning two-note riff paired with Grohl’s post-hardcore screaming, a battle between Snow Patrol and Chavez that no one wins.

No one could question Grohl’s grasp of rock history, but moments like this remind you that there is a slightly weightless, Lego Movie feel to his use of it. On the goofy and invigorating Farfisa organ-greased boogie rock “Make It Right,” this works to his advantage: It makes me think of Kid Rock, until it makes me think of Aerosmith’s “Last Child,” until it makes me think of KISS. “Hop on the train to nowhere, baby!” Grohl exhorts, forever unafraid of a t-shirt slogan, and Kurstin boosts the hi-hat until it sounds like it’s made from ten tons of iron. “The Sky Is a Neighborhood,” meanwhile, lands in some alt-rock uncanny valley between Eve 6’s “Inside Out” and “Where Is My Mind?”, a territory as nonsensical as the song title. But Grohl builds a big old rafter-raising chorus there anyway, and as it often does, his enthusiasm makes it go over. It’s all rock‘n’roll to him.

There are all kinds of guests floating by as usual: Alison Mosshart of the Kills guests on “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” and “La Dee Da.” Shawn Stockman, of Boyz II Men, harmonizes on “Concrete & Gold.” Hell, Paul McCartney pops in to play drums on “Sunday Rain.” Grohl told Rolling Stone that Justin Timberlake dropped by the studio one day, but Timberlake remains uncredited, leaving us in the dark, since everyone on a Foo Fighters album sounds like Foo Fighters. That holds as true for Bob Mould, who appeared on 2011’s Wasting Light, as it does here for smooth jazz saxophonist Dave Koz, who turns up somewhere, entirely inaudibly, on “La Dee Da.”

Grohl having fun is usually preferable to him flipping the chair around and getting serious, but there are some affecting moments on C&G. Years of belting and screaming have finally put a few notes of grain in his eternally boyish tenor. “Happy Ever After (Hour Zero),” the album’s best song, is a real ballad, not the foot-dragging, somber face he usually pulls when he goes quiet. “There ain’t no superheroes now/They’re underground” he sings jauntily, over a little dancehall bounce. The song is wry, winsome, acidic; unlike most Foo Fighters songs, it sounds like one person wrote it to express a single, legible emotion, parceling out feeling in a beaker instead of from a bucket. Most miraculously, it fades out before any windmilling power chords can wreck the mood.

Rock music has had few ambassadors as affable and tireless as Grohl, and over twenty years on, it remains impossible to dislike the Foo Fighters. Enjoying them, is a spottier proposition, and loving them seems to be out of the question. There are boring Foo Fighters albums and pretty good ones; C&G is a pretty good one, and in two years there will probably be another. Grohl has spent his entire career arguing for rock music’s ability to transcend and change lives, but his own music sends a different, sadder message: Rock doesn’t have to be transcendent or life-changing at all, and all your fantasies can be rendered just as dull and workaday as the rest of your life.

Jayson Greene - September 18, 2017

Concrete and Gold is the ninth studio album by American rock band Foo Fighters. It was produced by Greg Kurstin and released worldwide on September 15, 2017, through RCA Records. Described by the band as an album where "hard rock extremes and pop sensibilities collide", Concrete and Gold concerns the future of the United States from the viewpoint of the band's frontman and lead songwriter Dave Grohl, with the heated atmosphere of the 2016 elections and the presidency of Donald Trump cited as major influences by Grohl. Juxtapositions serve as a common motif in both the album's lyrical and musical composition, with Grohl further describing the album's overall theme as "hope and desperation".

Writing and recording of Concrete and Gold started in late 2016, after Grohl ended a self-imposed six-month hiatus from music while recovering from an injury sustained on the Sonic Highways World Tour. Working off a set of twelve or thirteen ideas for songs conceived by Grohl, the band enlisted the help of Kurstin, a pop music producer, who had never worked on a heavy rock record previously. The studio at which the band chose to record Concrete and Gold, EastWest Studios in Hollywood, California, fostered collaborations with various other artists who were also working at the studio at the time, including Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men, Justin Timberlake, and Paul McCartney.

Upon its release, Concrete and Gold was received positively by music critics, who praised the album's more expansive feel, both musically and lyrically. Modest criticism was aimed at the perceived lack of musical deviation from the band's previous albums. The album became the band's second to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, moving 127,000 album-equivalent units and selling 120,000 copies in its first week in the United States. The album also debuted at number one on twelve other national album charts, such as the United Kingdom Official Albums Chart and Australian ARIA Albums Chart. Singles from the album also found success; "Run" and "The Sky Is a Neighborhood" both peaked at number one at the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart. An eponymous headlining tour to promote the album ran through the second half of 2017.

The band's earliest ideas for their ninth studio album included creating a studio on the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater in California and recording the album live in front a crowd of 20,000 people. However, band frontman Dave Grohl later lost interest in the idea upon learning that it had already recently been done by PJ Harvey with her 2015 recording sessions for her album The Hope Six Demolition Project. Plans further changed due to the events of the band touring in support of their prior studio album, Sonic Highways, when Grohl fell off the stage and broke his leg at a June 2015 concert in Sweden. Grohl still managed to complete the show, and through the use of his self-designed "throne", a large chair that could sit him comfortably, the band still managed to function, continuing their tour through the year and even managing to record and release the Saint Cecilia EP and song. After the tour, in early 2016, the band announced they would be entering an indefinite hiatus. While no reasons were given at the time, in 2017, Grohl admitted to Rolling Stone that privately, he was still struggling from the injury, still unable to walk and enduring daily, multi-hour physical therapy sessions. He secluded himself from the band, and set a goal for himself to stay away from music for an entire year while he focused on recuperating. However, at six months to the day, he cancelled the plan when he began writing the lyrics to the track "Run".

Initial writing sessions only involved Grohl, who continued being in seclusion from the band, although he initially struggled, feeling "out of practice" and "creatively atrophied" due to his longer than usual break from music. Grohl rented an Airbnb in Ojai, California, so he could focus on long bouts of writing, with Grohl recounting "I brought a case of wine and sat there in my underwear with a microphone for about five days, just writing." After twelve or thirteen rough ideas were mapped out, he ran them by the band, who shared Grohl's belief that he was on the right track with the material. Happy with his work, but feeling the material still required further development, Grohl started thinking about reaching out to a music producer.

The band ended up working with music producer Greg Kurstin on the album. Grohl had been listening to the work of Kurstin's indie pop band, The Bird and the Bee since 2014 and was very impressed with his work, calling it "so much more sophisticated than anything [he'd] ever heard." Grohl reached out to Kurstin, and learned that he had taken a hiatus from The Bird and the Bee to focus on his work as a music producer, producing songs including Halsey's "Strangers", Sia's "The Greatest" and "Cheap Thrills" and Adele's "Hello". The two both were interested in the challenge presented with working together – Kurstin had never worked on a heavy rock album, while Grohl had never worked with a pop songwriter – and decided to collaborate on the album.

Recording was done at the heavily populated EastWest Studios, where the band frequently ran into, and interacted with, various other musicians in the studio building. Recording sessions frequently culminated into large barbecues and alcohol drinking among the other artists using the studios, often leading to Grohl grilling meat for parties of up to forty people while finishing up recording sessions. The set up lead to the band having a number of high-profile collaborations on the album. The band worked with Boyz II Men member Shawn Stockman on the album's title track and album closer, which stemmed from a chance meeting between Grohl and Stockman in the parking lot. Grohl also announced that "probably the biggest pop star in the world" would provide backing vocals on a track as well, though he refused to name who, leading to much speculation due to the number of pop stars Kurstin had previously worked with prior to the Foo Fighters. Grohl later clarified that it was not Adele or Taylor Swift, and that the person has " been around a long time", and eventually revealed it to be Justin Timberlake. Further collaborations include vocals by Inara George on the track "Dirty Water", saxophone by David Koz on the track "La Dee Da", and vocals by Alison Mosshart of The Kills on "La Dee Da" and "The Sky Is a Neighborhood". Additionally, Paul McCartney contributed drums to the track "Sunday Rain" after entering the studio and recording two drum tracks without even hearing the song first, basing his performance entirely on Grohl recreating the song acoustically for him on the spot. Concrete and Gold also marks Rami Jaffee's first credit as an official band member, having been a session and touring keyboardist for the band since 2005.

While not a formal collaborator on the album, Grohl also would travel to visit past collaborator Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age during the recording sessions as well, who was working in the nearby United Recording music studio. The two often played in-progress material for each other, as each was working on a new approach of recording a rock album with a pop music producer, Homme doing the same thing with music producer Mark Ronson on the album Villains.

Concrete and Gold received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 72 out of 100, which indicates "generally favorable reviews" based on 24 reviews.

In the review for AllMusic, editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine concluded that "Foo Fighters show that they're in love with light and shade, fury and quiet, every twist and turn they can make with their instruments, and even if Concrete And Gold isn't about much more than that, it's refreshing to hear the Foos embrace to the logical flashing conclusion of Grohl's allegiance to real rock values." Writing for Classic Rock Magazine/Team Rock magazine, Mark Beaumont praised the album for being the "most cohesive consume-in-one-sitting Foo Fighters album in a decade" and concluding that "Grohl does emerge from the modern age with some glimmer of optimism and defiance... If Dave Grohl is an enduring icon of rocking through the hard times, we need him – and Concrete And Gold – now more than ever."

Newsday critic Glenn Gamboa praised Kurstin's production on the album, and the band as well for successfully expressing grander and more artistic statements than past albums. Jon Pareles at The New York Times praised the band's ability to make something new out of all of their influences, concluding that "Mr. Grohl and Foo Fighters wear their influences so openly — Pink Floyd in 'Concrete and Gold', Led Zeppelin in 'Make It Right', the Beatles all over the album — that they still come across as earnest, proficient journeymen, disciples rather than trailblazers. But in 2017, there aren’t even many disciples left, while Foo Fighters keep honing their skills."

In a more reserved review for The Guardian, Alexis Petridis wrote, "Concrete and Gold sees the Foo Fighters gently and enjoyably nudge at the boundaries of what they do, rather than crashing through them to new territory. It’s an album that won’t frighten the horses, but provides enough fresh interest to keep the band ticking over: for the Foo Fighters, you suspect, that means mission accomplished." Emma Swann gave the album a three-out-of-five star rating in her review for DIY Magazine, simply stating "Foo Fighters’ ninth is [...] more interesting than one might’ve expected."


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