Sound City: Real to Reel - Original Soundtrack
Sound City: Real to Reel Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

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  • Summary: The songs on the soundtrack to Dave Grohl's documentary about Sound City Studios (Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Rage Against The Machine's self-titled debut, Pat Benatar's Crimes of Passion, and Nirvana's Nevermind were recorded there), were composed and recorded with its own 24-hour session using the Neve 8028 recording console from the legendary Los Angeles studio with such artists as Josh Homme, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, Trent Reznor, Rick Springfield, Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Fear's Lee Ving, members of the Foo Fighters, and surviving members of Nirvana. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. 80
    It's an undeniably intriguing and often inspired collection, shining with genuine heart and humanity. [May 2013, p.86]
  2. Apr 12, 2013
    The highs far outweigh the lows. [9 Mar 2013, p. 50]
  3. Apr 16, 2013
    For the most part, he succeeds. [No. 97, p.60]
  4. Mar 12, 2013
    Real to Reel is otherwise lacking in the kind of tension that's required to produce an album that's more than the sum of its talented parts.
  5. 60
    Real to Reel would have benefited from more diversity.
  6. Mar 14, 2013
    Some tracks (the Rick Springfield-augmented The Man That Never Was) sound like Foos-by-numbers. However, Grohl and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic have coaxed a jewel from Paul McCartney: the raging, White Album-ish Cut Me Some Slack must be the rawest thing he's recorded in over 40 years.
  7. Mar 12, 2013
    While Sound City Studios was unforgettable, this glorified jam session is not. It’s uneven and top-heavy.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Mar 13, 2013
    There 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. Expand
  2. Mar 13, 2013
    IGNORE 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
  3. 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 Expand
  4. 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. Collapse
  5. 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. Expand
  6. Mar 13, 2013
    When I saw this online to DL I didn't know it was a soundtrack. I just noticed Dave Grohl's name on it, so peeked my interest (Foo Fighters). Basically it seems to be Grohl's project with work from some band mates and assorted singers-most notably Paul McCartney and Stevie Nicks. Can't say it sounds like Foo as some critics seem to think. Honestly, this is not my favorite genre so maybe I don't hear what others may hear. But I wasn't impressed. Expand