The last few weeks were a little dry on the big albums (with a few exceptions), so I was really happy that March started off promising. First off – and a good start for the week – is the soundtrack for Dave Grohl’s first music documentary called “Sound City”*. I haven’t seen it yet but will do so in time and am looking forward to it.
*I don’t know how long but the link has an album stream…
I don’t think that anyone expected a bad soundtrack but to be honest, even though I never disliked the Foo Fighters, I always prefered the projects were Grohl was rather one of many creative impulses than the main idea-man and this monster of a Rock album proves my point. It has a very distinct Rock sound, the dark, groovy kind that breathes the desert and always lingers close to psychedelia (but never gets there). Grohl likes it radio-friendly and there’s nothing bad about it, in fact, there is a nice mixture of Rock clichés and unique ideas that keeps you interested.
The guest list is jaw-droppingly awesome and reminds a lot of the desert sessions. You got Black Rebel Motorcycle Club who have the honor to do the opener “Heaven and All” (and start the whole thing off with a luscious, dark beast). I was very surprised how well Steve Nicks works with “You can’t fix this”, I’ve heard her sing old Fleetwood Mac-songs with her present voice and boy, does it not sound good. But they provided a nice, dark Marianne Faithful-esque song for her that fits her gravelly voice and probably even works live.
My big “WOW”-moment came from Rick Springfield. I love “Jessie’s girl” as I do love many cheesy 80s songs but never in a Million years would I have thought that his voice fits this kind of music like a glove. It’s the most Foo Fighters-like song on the whole album but his voice adds something weirdly pretty to it that shows how much everyone involved added their own style. I was furthermore blown away that he actually still sounds great as many singers of the yonder-years tend to sound horrifying nowadays.
Personally, all songs with Chris Goss and Josh Homme (with one exception, see down below) worked beautifully, in fact, “Centipede” – which features both – is my favourite of the whole album.
Surprisingly (or not so much, it depends), my least favourite tracks where “Cut me some slack” (ft. Paul McCartney and the living Nirvana members) and “Mantra” (with Trent Reznor and Josh Homme). The first didn’t work for me because it sounds lazy and the vocals are – compared to most other singers – rather weak. Sorry Paul, but that’s how it is. It’s not “Lou Reed meets Metallica”-bad but it’s still hopefully something that never happens again.
The latter didn’t work for me mainly because of its position. It’s the last track on a smashing Rock album and it just goes nowhere which would work fine somewhere in the middle, floating into heavier territory. But as last track, it falls flat (something like “Time Slowing Down” with Chris Goss, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk would have worked a lot better as it is epic).
Yeah, it’s not the best quality…
All in all, this is a fantastic album, with some songs that maybe don’t work without the documentary but probably make a lot of sense with “Sound City” as the main narration. Most songs, however, due to unique choices of guest musicians and nevertheless a very clear soundscape, are pretty awesome and could even have potential to end up in the canon.
1. Heaven And All – Robert Levon Been, Dave Grohl & Peter Hayes
2. Time Slowing Down – Chris Goss, Tim Commerford, Dave Grohl & Brad Wilk
3. You Can’t Fix This – Stevie Nicks, Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins & Rami Jaffee
4. The Man That Never Was – Rick Springfield, Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel & Pat Smear
5. Your Wife Is Calling – Lee Ving, Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Alain Johannes & Pat Smear
6. From Can To Can’t – Corey Taylor, Dave Grohl, Rick Nielsen & Scott Reeder
7. Centipede – Joshua Homme, Chris Goss, Dave Grohl & Alain Johannes
8. A Trick With No Sleeve – Alain Johannes, Dave Grohl & Joshua Homme
9. Cut Me Some Slack – Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear
10. If I Were Me – Dave Grohl, Jessy Greene, Rami Jaffee & Jim Keltner
11. Mantra – Dave Grohl, Joshua Homme & Trent Reznor