Sound City: Real to Reel - Original Soundtrack

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Mar 12, 2013
    While Sound City Studios was unforgettable, this glorified jam session is not. It’s uneven and top-heavy.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Mar 15, 2013
    While I don't agree with the overly mixed (to negative) reviews I've seen for this, I also don't agree with the overly positive ones either. There are only 2 tracks on here I gladly skip (Time Slowing Down and From Can to Can't) but the remaining 8 songs I enjoy and don't skip, I enjoy because they're effectively Foo Fighters songs with a couple of high profile friends chipping in. For example, The Man That Never Was just sounds like a Wasting Light b-side. Now that's not a bad thing by any means, but I feel that for this project, Grohl and co. should've tried to create a different sound from the one he's made signature with the Foo Fighters. But I guess that's expected with getting Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear and Nate Mendel to work on this. (The lack of Chris Shiflett on this surprised me a little.) It comes as no surprise that, any tracks with the magnificent Alain Johannes involved, are among the strongest on the album. All in all, I would recommend this album as I enjoyed it immensely (bar Time Slowing Down and From Can to Can't). Just don't expect anything more than a Foo Fighters' b-sides record. Full Review »
  2. Apr 15, 2013
    I’m happy to say that this turned out just as awesome as you’d expect from a project like this. Considering the album’s extensive roster, I think a track-by-track analysis is the best way to go about this review. Opening track Heaven and All (basically Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with Grohl on drums) is a heavy, driving riff-rocker that really starts the album off with a bang. Time Slowing Down (feat Masters of Reality’s Chris Goss & the rhythm section of Rage Against the Machine) seamlessly trades off between dreamy & almost psychedelic verses & a Foo Fighters-esque chorus/guitar lead. You Can’t Fix This (feat Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins & Wallflowers keyboardist Rami Jaffee) has all the makings of a great Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac song; incredibly catchy melodies, poetic lyrics centered around betrayal & the end of relationships, guitar leads that are both jangly & twangy, and Nicks’ distinct raspy vocals in top form. The Man That Never Was (basically Foo Fighters fronted by Rick Springfield) is an angsty hard rock song with a multitude of awesome riffs, and finds Springfield in a much more edgy mode than we ever saw on Jessie’s Girl. Your Wife Is Calling (feat Hawkins, Fear frontman Lee Ving, Queens of the Stone Age bassist Alain Johannes & Foo Fighters/Germs/Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear) is admittedly a song that took a while to grow on me. It has a hardcore punk-like feel, goofy & repetitive lyrics, and throughout it rides a very odd groove that I can barely tell the time signature of. It’s an oddball of a track but by the 3rd listen I was hooked. From Can to Can’t (feat Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor, Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen & Kyuss/The Obsessed bassist Scott Reeder) is a dark moody epic about what I’m interpreting as being told from the point of view of a man who’s questioning his faith in a higher power after a loved one dies. It does a great job of building throughout too, with the instrument getting heavier & Taylor’s vocals getting more emotionally-driven over the course of its 5-minute length. Centipede (feat QOTSA frontman Josh Homme, Johannes & Goss) is a much more acoustic-based track than the other ones here, being driven throughout by a quickly-picked guitar riff & switching into rock mode about halfway in. Honestly though this is probably the only song I have a gripe with; while it’s in general very well-written, to me the acoustic first half runs about a minute too long & eventually loses my interest until the 2nd half. Still, it’s overall a very good track. A Trick with No Sleeve (feat Homme & Johannes) is another solid rock track, even if there aren’t really any compliments I can give it I haven’t already given to other ones here. Cut Me Some Slack (feat Smear, Nirvana bassist Krist Noveselic & Paul McCartney) was the first impression we got of the album and man, was it a good one. It features a killer riff/groove & Sir Paul wailing his geriatric butt off over his heaviest song since Helter Skelter. If I Were Me (feat Jaffee, former Jayhawks violinist Jessy Greene & renowned session drummer Jim Keltner) is the first of Grohl’s 2 lead vocal performances on the album, though neither this nor Mantra (feat. Homme & Nine Inch Nails’/How to Destroy Angels’ Trent Reznor) sound like the average Foo Fighters song. The former is a beautifully reflective ballad driven by a steady vocal delivery & harmonic-tinged acoustic guitar riff. The latter is an ambitious sprawling 8-minute alt-rock track that keeps a nice groove throughout driven by spot-on drumming & a very catchy bassline by Homme, and it features both Grohl & Reznor on lead vocals in various points throughout the song, a duet I’m pretty sure many a rock fan has been waiting for for about a decade now. Like From Can to Can’t, Mantra does a great job at building, only here it’s done a lot more gradually and subtly, and as a result it creates a lot of tension & leads to a fantastic climax. It’s overall a great ending to a great album, which you’d expect with such an alt-rock dream trio collaborating on a track. Overall this is a very impressive album, which I frankly wasn’t surprised by considering the people Grohl managed to get together for this. It’s easily a contender for Album of the Year in my book. Top 5 tracks: You Can’t Fix This, Mantra, Cut Me Some Slack, From Can to Can’t, Man That Never Was. Score: 91/100 Full Review »
  3. Mar 17, 2013
    I am not sure what the "critics" were expecting here and frankly, I do not care. For what amounts to a collection of jam sessions, most of these songs are better than what a lot of bands put out today as singles. I would not label any of the tracks as true duds, even if there are a few I will probably skip during further listening but I think the key here is that this does warrant further listening. It had the potential to be a throw-away soundtrack but shines like a lost Foo Fighters album with powerful help from other artists. The beautiful thing about that is what is missing the annoying songs that are instantly pop-crafted radio-friendly hits. It seems like every Foo album has a song or two that I really do not like at all and they happen to be the ones that are overplayed on the radio. It definitely warrants a listen to the casual fan, but if you really enjoy the deeper cuts where Dave lets his rock n roll spirit go wild, you will thoroughly enjoy this album. Full Review »