“Play” by Dave Grohl

I heard about this when it was released, but it took me a bit to go back and look at it.  I think I actually read a couple articles about it before I even looked back.  When I heard that it was a 23 minute ride, I knew I wanted to give it the time it seemed to ask for.

Now this post isn’t meant to be a critique; I simply don’t have those qualifications.  I am not a musician by any stretch.  I’m like everyone else who is not a musician, but likes music.  I love listening to music.  Honestly, I love listening.  Music is just a particular place to be in. 

In terms of the song itself, its quite a journey.  I’m not at all phased that Dave plays all the instruments.  If you’ve seen ANY of his prior work you know he is more than capable of that.  So what I’m really drawn to in this piece is the sections that are familiar and the contrast of what clearly sounds experimental, for Dave.

It helps to watch the video to see where there are clear transitional points in the song.  I think it is more obvious to the untrained ear (me too) to see as he moves between drum kits or watch as he switches guitars.  It makes listening to it later make a little more sense.  I was able to just listen to it later (I got my copy on Google Play) and pick out the places where there is different kinds of intent.  Here is what I hear:

There are 3 main sections.  In the beginning it feels like he is paying homage to his roots and his beginning musical life.  There are notes of Rush, Pink Floyd, Nirvana and early Foo Fighters in its sentiment.  Then has he moves kits into the second section, the song definitely takes on a more experimental feeling.  Like Dave is trying out different sounds that maybe he knows but hasn’t explored.  I bet a lot of people that feel they know the “Dave Grohl sound” experience some dissonance here.  Then the last section turns into a more technical “playground”.  This is where I think Dave is showing his stuff.  We all know Dave is excellent, and here is where he gets to celebrate that for himself.

I’m going to enjoy coming back to this one time and again.  And I have to say, even from the first viewing I felt like this isn’t the last time we are going to see this kind of thing from Dave.  I think he is headed somewhere that will one day take him of the Rock & Roll rails, into the hinterlands of self-exploration.  He is not the first person to do the one-man band bit.  And there becomes a point where selling records isn’t the main drive anymore.  It’s a journey of self-discovery and adventure.  

Good luck, Dave.  Have a blast!