Foo Fighters just released a surprise new single, “Run” – and the biggest surprise to me is that it has great dynamics.
All their recent releases have been pushed really hard, in the loudness department – not disastrously, but I’ve always thought they would have sounded better with more room to breathe.
This single proves me right.
But then, I would say that ! I’m always saying that balanced dynamics beat loudness.
So in this post, I’m not going to offer any personal opinions at all, I’m just going to let the facts speak for themselves – and the reviews.
Reviews like this one, in Billboard:
Foo Fighters Crank Up the Heavy… play[ing] with a soft-loud-soft dynamic on the new single “Run,” which opens as a dreamy, slow burner then, as you’d expect with the Foos, quickly turns heavy as thunder. How heavy? So heavy your mom will hate it and your neighbors will tell you to turn it down. So heavy it might just feature some of the most hulking moments in the Foos’ canon”
Or this one, in Blabbermouth:
a monolithic song of the summer shoo-in as melodic as it is monstrously heavy”
– and these comments are about a song that is 4dB quieter than their 2011 single “Rope” !
So how does this compute ?
How can it be quieter but sound louder ?
And because loudness management.
This song sounds just as loud as “Rope” on YouTube, TIDAL and Spotify. But “Run” has 4 dB more peak-to-loudness impact than “Rope”, as my Dynameter plugin clearly shows – and the Foos have made it count:
Don’t trust the reviews, though – listen for yourself. Listen to the way the guitars pile in during the chorus, the pounding drums – this song still sounds exactly like a Foo Fighters record should, proving yet again that “loudness” isn’t a requirement of “the sound”, it’s just an increasingly irrelevant technicality.
The Foo Fighters have seized the opportunity of using more dynamics in their music, and it’s worked.
Maybe you should, too.
[Update: I was really looking forward to hearing the full album, based on this song. Sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Some songs sound great, with excellent dynamics – but some are still very badly crushed, sadly.
Even more puzzling, the sound is inconsistent – some songs are too loud in comparison to others, in my opinion, others aren’t loud enough. Some even have this issue between different sections of the same song.
Added to some strange EQ choices, the whole thing feels piecemeal and disjointed, to me. Which is shame – how great would it have been to give the Dynamic Range Day Award to a Foo Fighters album ?!
Maybe next time…