Review this album
Mar 13, 2013There is not a track that I skip. It is amazing to see what this fantastic group of musicians are able to put together on the fly. Its fun, rarely lets up, and has some truly amazing songcrafting along with pure, unadulterated rock. Love it to death and I have been listening to it everyday since NPR did a free stream on the whole album a week ago.
Mar 13, 2013IGNORE the critics scores. They are all mainstream critics who only care about pop and electronic music. This album is a monument to the once mainstream genre of rock n roll and a accurately captures the amazing sound of this board and these musicians. The only complaint I have is the first track. Though everything else is amazing. Amazing guitar riffs, great drums (duh Dave Grohl's on it) and absolutely astounding production. Real to Reel is the greatest rock and roll album from the past 5 years.… Expand
Apr 15, 2013I’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… Collapse