• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Nov 10, 2014
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
Buy On
  1. 90
    [A] remarkable exploration of and ode to American music.
  2. Classic Rock Magazine
    Dec 16, 2014
    80
    Even dislocated from the TV show, Sonic Highways remains among the most concise and powerful Foo albums yet. [Dec 2014, p.102]
  3. Kerrang!
    Dec 16, 2014
    80
    It's a collection of eight good and great Foo Fighters songs. [15 Nov 2014, p.52]
  4. Mojo
    Nov 19, 2014
    80
    The blueprint's not rewritten, but Something From Nothing and The Feast & The Famine dose the Foos format with steroids, while Grohl's earnest delivery redeems the occasional detour into cliche. [Dec 2014, p.89]
  5. Q Magazine
    Nov 13, 2014
    80
    Overseen by Butch Vig, there's a continuity to Sonic Highways, in spite of its on-the-road creation. At the same time, the band stretch themselves. [Dec 2014, p.117]
  6. Uncut
    Nov 10, 2014
    80
    It's a muscular, Butch-Vig-produced behemoth that impresses. [Dec 2014, p.77]
  7. Nov 10, 2014
    80
    Foo Fighters are providing the map, it’s up to the audience to explore. Therein lies its beauty.
  8. 80
    When partnered with visuals, these songs will probably be a lot more impactful and resonant. As it stands, they're still pretty great. [Dec 2014, p.104]
  9. All told, it’s a solid record with no glaring weak points (a first for the Foo Fighters) and with some of the band’s more rewarding and adventurous songwriting.
  10. 75
    As solid as Sonic Highways is, the entertaining making-of stories may ultimately overshadow the album.
  11. Nov 20, 2014
    70
    Sonic Highways doesn’t break new ground, but for those accustomed to these five guys’ wares, it’ll suffice when they desire a concise reaffirmation of what makes them appealing in the first place.
  12. Nov 19, 2014
    70
    Even if there's a lingering predictability in the paths the Foo Fighters follow on Sonic Highways, they nevertheless know how to make this familiar journey pleasurable.
  13. Nov 11, 2014
    70
    While the band and management are careful not to peg Sonic Highways as the soundtrack to the cable television series, the Foo Fighters’ eighth studio LP certainly remains a concept album and requires that lens to be appreciated fully.
  14. Nov 11, 2014
    70
    Despite the high concept, this isn't exactly a major overhaul for the Foos: The eight songs on Sonic Highways have the same monster guitar crunch, pummeling crescendos and hard-pleading bridges found on every album they've made this millennium.
  15. While the journey isn't quite as as spectacular as you'd hope, the destination is reassuringly familiar: Foo Fighters making fist-pumping rock'n'roll.
  16. 67
    Everything musical seems startlingly familiar, and not in the paying-homage-to-the-denizens-of-rock-past way the album’s conceit might have you imagine.
  17. Nov 12, 2014
    67
    Grohl’s quest is representative of an enthusiasm—rounded out by some overwrought lyrics--nearly swallowing itself alive, sure, but with Foo Fighters, hating the game seems more right than hating the player.
  18. Nov 12, 2014
    60
    Unfortunately Sonic Highways only delivers occasionally.
  19. Nov 10, 2014
    60
    Overall, this is a record of familiar virtues and failings: robust, full-throttle pop-rock, rather overstuffed with identikit stadium anthems, but largely redeemed by the force of Dave Grohl’s personality.
  20. Like all of the band’s albums, Sonic Highways ends up enjoyable, sweet and insubstantial.
  21. Nov 10, 2014
    60
    The lyrics cleverly incorporate words and ideas from each programme. But a soundtrack featuring all the oddball artists from the series would have been more interesting.
  22. Nov 10, 2014
    56
    Ironically, in trying to tap into the mystique of America’s most storied cities, Foo Fighters completely demystify their own creative process, effectively turning the Sonic Highways project into a glorified homework assignment--educational, perhaps, but laboriously procedural.
  23. Nov 19, 2014
    50
    Grohl and Co. have celebrated the veins of American rock music from coast to coast, but their fear of over-administering each city’s sonic roots into their own blueprint has hindered the progression of Sonic Highways into a cohesive unit, and instead resulted in a challenging listen.
  24. Nov 17, 2014
    50
    While occasionally striking like a brilliant, blinding lightning bolt, they all too often seem to ride a wave of bleating mediocrity to multi-platinum heights.
  25. Nov 13, 2014
    50
    Eight songs, many of which feel too long; recorded in eight cities that don’t really leave their unique mark on the sonic side of the experience; each with a guest who is, at best, an apparition dancing in the shadows of the spot-lit stars; yielding eight largely forgettable arrangements that won’t make a dent on any fan’s all-time top 10.
  26. Nov 10, 2014
    50
    Sonic Highways is an attempt to channel a different musical energy, but it's one that Grohl does a far better job capturing with his camera crew.
  27. Nov 7, 2014
    50
    Twenty years deep into its career, Foo Fighters could've used a bit of a shake-up, if not a makeover, to re-energize its music. But Sonic Highways provides little more than window-dressing on business as usual.
  28. 42
    [The L.A. song, “Outside”] manages to capture some of the essence of the West Coast city, but the details of “canyons” and “sirens” seem hollow, lack insight, and reek of lyrics that were hammered out on instinct, not careful consideration. This kind of a songwriting experiment keeps the Sonic Highways album from being essential listening. It’s more of a failed experiment, a diversion from a real Foo Fighters album.
  29. Dec 4, 2014
    40
    It's a cool premise, but despite the ambition and guest musicians on each song, Sonic Highways sounds like every other Foo Fighters record.
  30. Nov 10, 2014
    40
    Sonic Highways isn’t a bad album, merely a disappointingly bloodless one; after all, one thing Foo Fighters have never lacked in the past is immediacy.
  31. Nov 7, 2014
    40
    Sadly, said stories [in the HBO series] are not quite as fascinating when told through the medium of the music of Foo Fighters.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 141 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 93 out of 141
  2. Negative: 14 out of 141
  1. Nov 14, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. It's a sign of real courage when a band that can count on millions of album sales and fill any stadium on the planet decides to take risks and experiment with new ideas - Sonic Highways is a powerful statement from an assured and accomplished band. You are unlikely to like everything right off the bat because they come at each song from different directions and sensibilities - but taken as a whole it's a triumph of the songwriters art. Just as Foo Fighters have ( IMHO) become this generation's Led Zeppelin, so Dave Grohl is growing into this generation's Niel Young - honest and uncompromised by commercial success - for that alone it's my album of the year. Full Review »
  2. Nov 10, 2014
    6
    The Foo Fighters set the bar so high with Wasting Light, it was inevitable there would be a bit of a letdown I their follow up to that record.The Foo Fighters set the bar so high with Wasting Light, it was inevitable there would be a bit of a letdown I their follow up to that record. That being said, Sonic Highways is a solid effort. The first two songs are the strongest though, which makes the rest of the record a rocky listen with some very un-Foo Fighters-like moments. If this record was supposed to be a bridge to expanding their sound across the board, it will take a while and further recordings to assess as to wnether it worked. Full Review »
  3. Nov 10, 2014
    6
    For me, the album is an experiment that failed. Foo Fighters made a change in their sound on this album, the songs are meant to give you theFor me, the album is an experiment that failed. Foo Fighters made a change in their sound on this album, the songs are meant to give you the feeling of having already heard the songs (as in What Did I Do ?, reminiscent of Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd). The purpose of the album is very good but for me it was poorly executed. The album began with potent Something From Nothing, but after this track the album started to be boring for me, which is a shame because I'm a big fan of Foo Fighters and I was disappointed, I understand that they worked hard to make a great experience for her fans but did not please my ears, it was not like Pink Floyd, Swans, the Flaming Lips, or whatever, was generic ... Still, I think the album was saved from a "failure" when he arrived at Subterranean, the Foo Fighters got the experience they wanted in the last two tracks, making I Am a River was the perfect ending for the album and exciting, unfortunately I do not think the album has turned into a big deal and I dare say that this is the weakest album from Foo Fighters until then ... Full Review »