In a contemporary pop landscape where Adam Levine is presented as an embodiment of and advocate for rock music on millions of televisions weekly, Foo Fighters’ “Sonic Highways” is welcome recalibration for the genre. But in the context of a world where “The Colour and the Shape” and “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” exist, it’s hard to view the band’s eighth album as anything but its weakest. Which isn’t to say that “The Feast and the Famine,” “Congregation,” and others don’t rock righteously, it’s just that only “What Did I Do?/God As My Witness,” burning with the drive and breadth of a compact epic, pulls off anything more than that. Blame the decision to record in a variety of American music cities — Nashville for the Zac Brown-assisted “Congregation,” Chicago for “Something From Nothing,” and so on — which seems to interrupt Foo Fighters’ previously effortless creative momentum with every song. “Sonic Highways” isn’t a bad album, merely a disappointingly bloodless one; after all, one thing Foo Fighters have never lacked in the past is immediacy. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “What Did I Do?/God As My Witness”Marc Hirsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.