For me, it’s a good soundtrack to a great series of HBOs documentaries. As a standalone record, though, I’m not sure. It somehow feels…incomplete without the stories and the visuals. Maybe if they had released the documentary after we’d had a chance to become acquainted with the songs I’d feel differently.
Then again, maybe we’re missing the point. The Foo Fighters have been around for 20 years and have plenty of hits to draw from whenever they play live. They’ve reached that stage of their career when people come to their gigs to hear all the old hits and not necessary anything from a new album. Ask U2 what that’s like.
The Foos and their management know that the chances of any new album going platinum are slim. The real money is in live gigs, merch and creative moves like co-producing a documentary series with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants and then striking a deal with a massive entity like HBO. The album is simply a means to these ends.
Call me cynical, but I think this is a great business move but one that may not have necessarily resulted in a good album.
Here’s another take on the record from contributor Gilles LeBlanc:
I can’t think of an album in recent memory more hyped and eagerly anticipated than Foo Fighters’Sonic Highways.
Then again, no album has ever really had this type of promotion behind it, primarily driven by what will amount to an 8-week informercial on North America’s most popular and far-reaching pay TV channel.
Following the success and acclaim of the FOO’s back-to-garage-basics Wasting Lightin 2011, music mastermind Dave Grohl apparently wasn’t simply satisfied with saving rock ’n’ roll from whatever ailed it. He moved from behind his singer’s mic to that of a director’s viewfinder, helming the very well-received Sound City, a documentary on the legendary studio of the same name, with a subplot of real songs and records continuing to be made by analog-loving musicians. The companion soundtrack, you may remember, featured several kick-ass collaborations, including one with a certain Sir Paul McCartney that led to a spontaneous Nirvana reunion of sorts.