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.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Julian Lennon

Julian LennonSongwriter Interviews

Julian tells the stories behind his hits "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbyes," and fills us in on his many non-musical pursuits. Also: what MTV meant to his career.

Janis Ian

Janis IanSongwriter Interviews

One of the first successful female singer-songwriters, Janis had her first hit in 1967 at age 15.

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New York

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Lori McKenna

Lori McKennaSongwriter Interviews

Lori's songs have been recorded by Faith Hill and Sara Evans. She's performed on the CMAs and on Oprah. She also has five kids.

Richie McDonald of Lonestar

Richie McDonald of LonestarSongwriter Interviews

Richie talks about the impact of "Amazed," and how his 4-year-old son inspired another Lonestar hit.

Judas Priest

Judas PriestSongwriter Interviews

Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton talk twin guitar harmonies and explain how they create songs in Judas Priest.