Shame Shame

Album: Medicine at Midnight (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • This is the lead single from Medicine at Midnight. The Foo Fighters started recording the album in October 2019 in a large 1940s house in the Encino section of Los Angeles with producer Greg Kurstin. By March 2020, they'd finished mixing and mastering the record, and the tapes were on the way to the plant to be pressed into vinyl.

    Then Covid-19 shut the world down and everything was delayed.

    The band eventually dropped "Shame Shame" after debuting it on the November 7, 2020 episode of Saturday Night Live.
  • Frontman Dave Grohl has described Medicine At Midnight as a Saturday night party album inspired by David Bowie's Let's Dance era. This song, he told Radio.com, contains "this weird, rolling sort of loop groove that we've never attempted before."

    He added to SiriusXM's Jeff Regan: "That song is not really a party [song]. I mean, it's got a groove unlike anything we've ever done before, and it has a dynamic and a vibe and a tone unlike anything we've ever done before, which is why I wanted to release it first. You want to give people some sort of indication, like, 'Okay, this isn't exactly like the other nine records. This is moving into another territory.' It's not necessarily indicative of all of the other songs, but it does have its place on the record."
  • The ambiguous lyrics reference feelings of shame. A possible interpretation is that Grohl is singing from the point of view of an abuser in a relationship ("Now I got you. Under my thumb like a drug, I will smother you.") More likely, they're just a series of stream-of-consciousness lyrics he ad-libbed after coming up with the groove.
  • Bassist Nate Mendel originally was going to be left off this song. He explained to Tone Deaf it originated with a bunch of flamenco-like finger clicks that Grohl came up with and it grew from there. When they set out to record the tune, there wasn't any bass line, just keyboards.

    "I ended up playing on it just to give it extra character on top of what was already there like a bit of extra added texture," Mendel continued. "So that was the plan, just to throw out the rule book."
  • Greg Kurstin produced the song. The LA-born producer was also the man behind the boards on The Foo Fighters' previous album, Concrete And Gold. His other credits include Kelly Clarkson's "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)," Adele's "Hello," and Sia's "Cheap Thrills."
  • Directed by filmmaker Paola Kudacki, the dark and sobering black-and-white video renders an interpretation of a dream Grohl had in his early teenage years. The clip, which shows the frontman dragging his broken guitar up a hill towards a burning coffin, co-stars Algerian-French actress Sofia Boutella as an eerie temptress.

    Grohl explained to NME he had the dream when he was 14 or 15 and has remembered it his entire life.

    "I was standing at the bottom of this hill and there was this coffin on fire next to this dead tree and I ran up the hill to rescue whoever was in this coffin, but I couldn't get my hands on it because it was on fire! I stood there filled with anxiety and fear, but I've remembered it my entire f---ing life and never knew what it meant."
  • "Shame Shame" jumped from #38 to #1 on its second week on the Rock Airplay chart. The song's leap to the peak position was the quickest since Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dark Necessities" also needed just two frames to climb to the summit in May 2016.
  • The song is not much more than two chords, drum loops and a vocal. Grohl told Q magazine he's had the minimalist rock track in his head for years. "There are a lot of things we'd keep from doing before, and this time we let them all go," he said. "Simplicity in music is much more difficult than complexity."
  • Foo drummer Taylor Hawkins admitted to the UK newspaper The Sun he wasn't keen to use drum loops on this song. "When you are a drummer, it's like the most insecure spot sometimes," he said. "Especially when you're Dave Grohl's drummer. So drum loops? I got a little threatened, but I listened to the final product and it's just badass."
  • The song features a string section that includes Charlie Bisharat. The violinist was a member of the Chicago musical group Shadowfax, which won the Best New Age Performance Grammy Award in 1988 for the album Folksongs for a Nuclear Village.

Comments: 1

  • Rachel Correlli from Milton KeynesI know the splinter under the skin .
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