Dave Grohl is hands down one of the greatest musicians of all time. He played drums for the legendary grunge band Nirvana and founded the Foo Fighters, who are one of the biggest rock groups around today.
Last year, Grohl decided to give directing a chance and made a documentary called Sound City, which is about the iconic rock studio of the same name in Van Nuys, California. The soundtrack to the movie is called Sound City – Real to Reel. The album was orchestrated by Grohl, along with several other artists who recorded records in the studio. The album is one of the strongest rock releases of 2013 so far.
The album kicks off with the track “Heaven and All,” which features Dave Grohl on drums, Black Rebel Motorcycle Clubs’ Peter Hayes on guitar and Robert Levon Been on vocals. The song is a great way to kick the album off and is pure rock and roll. All of the musicians are in sync and start the album off with a lot of energy.
“Time Slowing Down” is the next track, which no pun intended, slows down the pace of the album only for a moment. Each verse is slower paced and melodic, followed by an up-tempo chorus with booming drums and blaring guitars. Grohl plays guitar on this track and is accompanied by Chris Goss on vocals. The rhythm section of Rage Against the Machine is also featured with Tom Commerford on bass and Brad Wilk on drums.
Following “Time Slowing Down,” the classic rock guests begin to make their voices heard. “You Can’t Fix This,” features Stevie Nicks on vocals, who is one of the greatest women in rock history. She sings alongside Foo Fighter members Taylor Hawkins on drums, Grohl on guitar and Rami Jaffee on keyboards. 80’s rocker Rick Springfield steps in on the next track with the rest of the Foo Fighters in “The Man That Never Was.” It basically sounds like what would happen if “Jessie’s Girl” and any Foo Fighters song had a baby.
The next song, “Your Wife is Calling,” surprised me a little bit. On the first listen, I thought Grohl and the Foo Fighters united with Motorhead’s Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, who helped the Foo Fighters out with vocals on the song “White Limo” from Foo’s most recent release Wasting Light. However, the man on vocals wasn’t Lemmy. Instead it was Fear’s Lee Ving. The track was one of the fastest paced ones on the record with growled vocals and lots of heavy guitar and solos.
Things mellowed down a little bit on the next track, as Corey Taylor, of Slipknot and Stone Sour, joined Grohl. The two were accompanied by Cheap Trick lead guitarist Rick Nielsen and Kyus bass player Scott Reeder. The guitars in the song slightly resembled Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh,” but the mix of all the instrumentals and Taylor’s voice make it one of the best tracks on the album.
Queens of the Stone Age lead singer and guitarist Josh Homme helped contribute on the songs “Centipede” and “A Trick With No Sleeve.” The songs were alright, but compared to the rest of the album they didn’t really stand out as much. They sounded like they could have bonus tracks on past Foo Fighter records
The next song “Cut Me Some Slack” combined two of the most influential bands of all time. The Beatles’ Paul McCartney joined forces with Nirvana members Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear, and Grohl. The song premiered back in December when they performed it live as part of the 12.12.12 concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Seeing members of the Beatles and Nirvana jamming together was pretty awesome and in the process they made a very solid song. McCartney may be 70-years-old, but he can still sing his heart out. Check out this song if you don’t believe me.
Grohl returned to vocals on the second to last song on the album “If It Were Me.” Foo Fighters violinist and cellist Jessy Green helped Grohl out on the track and it sounds like something right off of the Foo Fighters acoustic album Skin and Bones. The song was probably the mellowest of all the songs on the album, but the mixture of Grohl’s voice, the light sound of the stringed instruments and the laid back beat of the drums make it a very easy listen.
The best song of the album was the very last track “Mantra.” It features two of the most creative people in music in Grohl and Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor. Every part of the song is good and it is very easy to get stuck in your head. Grohl kills it on drums, Reznor does an excellent job on keyboard and the two of them sound great together on vocals. The catchiest parts of the song are on the bass lines heard throughout. There is one point on the track where all the singing and instruments stop, except for the bass riff. Homme steals the show on bass guitar and meshes very well with Grohl and Reznor.
When the album was over I was left with a feeling that the album was just too short. Considering all of the great albums which were made in Sound City, I felt it would have been nice to see even more artists want to be a part of both the movie and the album. Like Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo, any member from Metallica, Maynard James Keenan of Tool, or even the legendary Tom Petty. Unfortunately none of these guys were heard from on the album, despite the fact they all recorded signature albums in the studio.
Sound City Studios closed in 2011, but it will always be remembered for being the studio behind so many classic and iconic albums. Albums like Neil Young’s After the Goldrush, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, Nirvana’s Nevermind, Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled debut, and Weezer’s Pinkerton. However, the memory of the studio is not dead. All of the artists who contributed to this record helped make an album that would make the studio proud of.
If you’re a fan of rock, classic rock or a die-hard Foo Fighters fan looking for something to hold you over until the next album, this record is for you.
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