Album Reviews

Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways


The Foo’s Continue To Put Out Great Albums

Ever since forming in 1995, the Foo Fighters have been climbing the ranks in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, reaching elite status over the past five or six years. It seems that with every album, the shows get bigger, the media goes a little more crazy, and the expectations a little higher. Dave Grohl and company have been labelled the spokesmen for the genre as of late for these reasons, but can they keep living up to these expectations? After releasing the enormously successful album, Wasting Light in 2011, the guys have returned in 2014 with a concept album titled Sonic Highways.

Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways

Sonic Highways, 2014

As mentioned above, with the announcement of the new album came tons of attention from the media and fans, making this the most anticipated rock album of the year so far. The album features only eight tracks, but each of these tracks was recorded in a different studio and city in the U.S. Some of the most important scenes in the history of music were represented on this album, including Seattle, WA, Austin, TX, New Orleans, LA, Washington D.C., New York City, Nashville, TN, Chicago, IL, and Los Angeles, CA. During each visit, Grohl conducted a series of interviews with musicians from each city, digging deep into it’s musical history, using these interviews as inspiration for the lyrics. Each song features guest appearances from the musicians that call these towns home, adding a little flavoring not usually found on the Foo’s albums. To go along with all this, the band filmed everything  for a HBO series under the same name as the album. So how does the finished product sound?

Sonic Highways starts off with the first single off the album, “Something From Nothing.” The track starts with a slow, almost haunting clean guitar riff and adds a bluesy slide guitar to the verses. The music quickly picks up pace though, by the end the guys are in full blown rock mode featuring a heavy, chucking riff by Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Neilson. After a face melting solo by lead guitarist Chris Shiflet, the best track on the album begins to wind down to an end. “Feast and the Famine” is a straight up rocker, featuring the usual guitar driven sound the band brings to their albums, and “Congregation” and “In the Clear” will probably be the favorites for  longtime fans of the group,  as they are most similar to the band’s previous albums.

“What Did I Do/God As My Witness” is reminiscent of old rock tunes like “Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid” by Zeppelin and” We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” by Queen. Not in the sound, but with the setup of two songs that play into each other on one track. Oh yeah, rising blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr has a pretty sweet solo on it as well. “Outside” is another guitar driven track with a big, catchy chorus and a trippy guitar solo by Joe Walsh, this one is one of my personal favorites on the album. The album ends on a slightly slower, softer note. The acoustic driven track “Subterranean” is another example of why the band can still write a good rock song without loud guitars and screaming vocals. “I Am River” picks up on the pace the “Subterranean” left off, but builds up a little steam as the song progresses. With layers of guitars featured during the chorus it’s easy to get caught up in this one, although I would consider this one the weakest on a strong album.

I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on this album. Some hate it because it’s so much different than other Foo Fighters albums while others love the idea and music, personally, I’m somewhere in between.  I liked the idea, and knew it was going to sound different than the bands previous albums, and I really did love the songs. I just didn’t think it was as good as the groups previous two releases. I would rank this among the best of this years rock albums, but maybe third best by the band. I highly suggest it for any fans of rock though!

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