Sonic Highways

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sonic Highways
Foo Fighters 8LP Sonic Highways.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 10, 2014 (2014-11-10)
RecordedSeptember 2013 – July 2014
Studio
Genre
Length42:03
Label
Producer
Foo Fighters chronology
Medium Rare
(2011)
Sonic Highways
(2014)
Songs from the Laundry Room
(2015)
Singles from Sonic Highways
  1. "Something from Nothing"
    Released: October 16, 2014
  2. "The Feast and the Famine"
    Released: October 24, 2014
  3. "Congregation"
    Released: October 31, 2014
  4. "What Did I Do? / God As My Witness"
    Released: November 6, 2014
  5. "Outside"
    Released: August 4, 2015[2]

Sonic Highways is the eighth studio album by American rock band Foo Fighters, released on November 10, 2014, through Roswell and RCA Records.[3] Similar to their previous album, Wasting Light (2011), it was produced by the band with Butch Vig. In writing the album's eight songs, singer and guitarist Dave Grohl traveled to eight cities across the United States to conduct interviews with musicians, recording engineers, record producers, and other individuals discussing each city's musical history, which he used as inspiration for the songs' lyrics. The band and Vig then traveled to a different recording location in each city to record the songs.[4] Each track features contributions from one or more musicians with ties to that city's musical history. The process was filmed for a companion television series, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, which was broadcast on HBO in the months surrounding the album's release.[5][6]

Background and writing[edit]

Despite initially announcing a break after supporting Wasting Light, Grohl later stated in January 2013 that the band had started writing material for an eighth studio album.[7] On February 20, 2013, at the Brit Awards, Grohl said he was flying back to America the following day to start work on the next album.[8] In an August 2013 interview with XFM, Grohl announced that their next album was slated for a 2014 release, saying:

"Well, I’ll tell you, we have been in our studio writing and in the past few weeks we’ve written an album and we are going to make this album in a way that no-one’s ever done before and we’re pretty excited about it... It’s a little ways off – it’s not ready to happen right now – but I think next year is going to be a really big year for the Foo Fighters, without question."[9]

According to lead guitarist Chris Shiflett, Grohl would finish the lyrics just before recording his vocals, the last part of each song. This time the compositions would drift away from "love letters and confused relationships" to deal with the feelings Grohl had regarding each city during production.[10]

Recording[edit]

On September 6, 2013, lead guitarist Chris Shiflett posted a photo to his Instagram account that indicated 13 songs were being recorded for the album.[11] Keyboardist Rami Jaffee recorded parts for three songs, one of which is entitled "In the Way."[12] Butch Vig, who produced the band's prior album, Wasting Light, confirmed he produced Sonic Highways as well.[13][14] On July 30, 2014, Vig revealed that the band had finished recording and mixing the new album and that it was slated to be released a month after the Sonic Highways TV series.[15] In an August 2014 press release, Grohl spoke about the album, saying: "This album is instantly recognizable as a Foo Fighters record, but there's something deeper and more musical to it. I think that these cities and these people influenced us to stretch out and explore new territory, without losing our ‘sound’."[3]

Packaging[edit]

The album artwork by Stephan Martiniere[16] has a cityscape amalgamating landmarks of every town used for production – Seattle's Space Needle, the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles – and a recurring motif of the number eight, marking both the Foo Fighters' eighth album and infinity (∞).[3] The vinyl pressings of the album are packaged in nine different covers, depicting each of the eight cities and the "Forever" building shaped like the infinity symbol.[4] Most retailers would not guarantee which cover the purchaser would receive, and album art is "randomly selected" for orders from the band's official website.[17]

Promotion[edit]

On January 16, 2014, a picture was posted to the Foo Fighters Facebook page with several master tapes, some labeled "LP 8".[18] On May 15, 2014, it was announced that the band's eighth album would be released in November 2014 and that the Foo Fighters would commemorate the album and their 20th anniversary with an HBO TV series directed by Dave Grohl entitled Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways.[19] On August 11, 2014, it was announced that the album would be titled Sonic Highways and released on November 10, 2014.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.4/10[21]
Metacritic68/100[22]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[23]
The A.V. ClubB−[24]
The Daily Telegraph3/5 stars[25]
Entertainment WeeklyB[26]
The Guardian2/5 stars[27]
NME7/10[28]
Pitchfork5.6/10[29]
Q4/5 stars[30]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[31]
Uncut8/10[32]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 68, based on 31 reviews indicating "generally favorable reviews".[22] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic says the album "celebrates not the coiled fury of underground rock exploding into the mainstream, the way the '90s-happy Wasting Light did, but rather the classic rock that unites the U.S. from coast to coast."[23] Philip Cosores at Consequence of Sound stated "the album plays out more like a bonus feature, something that can enhance the series’ enjoyment or simply further inform the experience".[1]

Patrick Doyle from Rolling Stone noted that some of the album's songs are among "the band's most ambitious moments yet".[31] Stuart Berman of Pitchfork was more critical of the album, stating "Foo Fighters completely demystify their own creative process, effectively turning the Sonic Highways project into a glorified homework assignment—educational, perhaps, but laboriously procedural."[29]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, with sales of 190,000 copies in the United States.[33] As of September 2015, it has sold 490,000 copies in the US.[34]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleRecording locationLength
1."Something from Nothing" (featuring Rick Nielsen)Electrical Audio, Chicago, Illinois4:49
2."The Feast and the Famine" (featuring Peter Stahl and Skeeter Thompson)Inner Ear Studios, Arlington County, Virginia3:50
3."Congregation" (featuring Zac Brown)Southern Ground Studios, Nashville, Tennessee5:12
4."What Did I Do?/God as My Witness" (featuring Gary Clark, Jr.)Studio 6A, Austin, Texas5:44
5."Outside" (featuring Joe Walsh and Chris Goss)Rancho De La Luna, Joshua Tree, California5:15
6."In the Clear" (featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band)Preservation Hall, New Orleans, Louisiana4:04
7."Subterranean" (featuring Ben Gibbard)Robert Lang Studios, Seattle, Washington6:08
8."I Am a River" (featuring Tony Visconti and Kristeen Young)The Magic Shop, New York City, New York7:09
Total length:42:03

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[35]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Sales certifications for Sonic Highways
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[78] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[79] Gold 7,500*
Canada (Music Canada)[80] Platinum 80,000^
Germany (BVMI)[81] Gold 100,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[82] Gold 25,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[83] Gold 20,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[84] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[86] Platinum 316,770[85]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cosores, Philip (November 7, 2014). "Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  2. ^ "Alternative Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on July 21, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Grow, Kory (August 11, 2014). "Foo Fighters Name New Album 'Sonic Highways,' Reveal Track List". RollingStone.com. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Foo Fighters Announce 'Sonic Highways' Track List, Share Artwork Archived January 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine billboard.com. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  5. ^ "Foo Fighters premiere new single "Something From Nothing" — listen". Consequence of Sound. October 16, 2014. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  6. ^ Camp, Zoe; Phillips, Amy (October 16, 2014). "Foo Fighters Release "Something From Nothing" From New Album Sonic Highways". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  7. ^ "Dave Grohl Says Foo Fighters 'Have A Plan' For Their Next Album". MTV.com. January 23, 2013. Archived from the original on December 5, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  8. ^ "Dave Grohl: 'Foo Fighters to begin work on new album this week' | News". Nme.Com. February 21, 2013. Archived from the original on January 14, 2014. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "Foo Fighters Finish Writing New Album". Loudwire.com. August 19, 2013. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  10. ^ Peixoto, Mariana (September 27, 2014). "Guitarrista do Foo Fighters fala sobre novo disco em entrevista exclusiva". Estado de Minas (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  11. ^ Sarah Smith (November 6, 2013). "You'll never believe what Foo Fighters take on tour". Faster Louder. Faster Louder Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  12. ^ "Equipment photograph". Distilleryimage7.s3.amazonaws.com. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  13. ^ Darren Levin (August 26, 2013). "Butch Vig teams up with Foo Fighters for "KILLER new songs"". Faster Louder. Faster Louder Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  14. ^ Rosen, Craig. "The 10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014". Yahoo. Archived from the original on January 5, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  15. ^ Stolman, Elissa (July 30, 2014). "Foo Fighters Finish Eighth Album". spin.com. Spin. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  16. ^ Murray, Nick (November 19, 2014). "Meet the Mind Behind Foo Fighters' Trippy 'Sonic Highways' Album Cover". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "'Sonic Highways' vinyl preorder". FooFighters.com. December 4, 2014. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  18. ^ "Foo Fighters – Tijdlijnfoto's". Facebook. January 16, 2014. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  19. ^ "Foo Fighters To Commemorate Eighth Album & 20th Anniversary With HBO Series Documenting Eight-City Recording Odyssey". FooFighters.com. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  20. ^ "Twitter / foofighters: Sonic Highways. Out Worldwide". Twitter. Archived from the original on January 31, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "Sonic Highways by Foo Fighters reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Archived from the original on December 19, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Reviews for Sonic Highways by Foo Fighters". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 25, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  23. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Sonic Highways – Foo Fighters". AllMusic. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  24. ^ Warwick, Kevin (November 11, 2014). "Foo Fighters aim for the moon but come up a bit short on Sonic Highways". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  25. ^ Brown, Helen (November 8, 2014). "Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways, review: 'the same chunky chords'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  26. ^ Ryan, Kyle (November 7, 2014). "Sonic Highways". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  27. ^ Jonze, Tim (November 7, 2014). "Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways review – a high-concept tour with middling music". The Guardian. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  28. ^ Nicolson, Barry (November 5, 2014). "Foo Fighters – 'Sonic Highways'". NME. Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  29. ^ a b Berman, Stuart (November 10, 2014). "Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  30. ^ "Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways". Q (341): 117. December 2014.
  31. ^ a b Doyle, Patrick (November 11, 2014). "Sonic Highways". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 13, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  32. ^ "Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways". Uncut (211): 77. December 2014.
  33. ^ "Taylor Swift's '1989' No. 1 for Third Week on Billboard 200". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 21, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  34. ^ Brown, Matt (September 23, 2015). "Metal By Numbers 9/23: Slayer falls under the horizon". Metal Insider. Archived from the original on May 15, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  35. ^ Sonic Highways (CD liner notes). Foo Fighters. New York City: RCA Records. 2014. 88843-09008-2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  36. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  37. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  38. ^ "Ultratop.be – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  39. ^ "Ultratop.be – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  40. ^ "Foo Fighters Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  41. ^ "Danishcharts.dk – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  42. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  43. ^ "Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  44. ^ "Lescharts.com – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  45. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  46. ^ "Official IFPI Charts – Top-75 Albums Sales Chart – Εβδομάδα: 47/2014" (in Greek). IFPI Greece. Archived from the original on December 1, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  47. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2014. 46. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  48. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 46, 2014". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  49. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  50. ^ "Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". oricn ME inc. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  51. ^ "Charts.nz – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  52. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  53. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  54. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  55. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  56. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  57. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  58. ^ 22, 2014/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  59. ^ "Foo Fighters Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  60. ^ "Foo Fighters Chart History (Top Alternative Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  61. ^ "Foo Fighters Chart History (Top Hard Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  62. ^ "Foo Fighters Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  63. ^ "End of Year Charts – ARIA Top 100 Albums 2014". ARIA Charts. Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on January 11, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  64. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 2014 – Albums" (in Dutch). ultratop.be. Archived from the original on October 10, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  65. ^ "Rapports Annuels 2014 – Albums" (in French). ultratop.be. Archived from the original on January 2, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  66. ^ "FIMI – Classifiche Annuali 2014 "TOP OF THE MUSIC" FIMI-GfK: un anno di musica italiana" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Archived from the original on January 13, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  67. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 2014". Recorded Music NZ. Archived from the original on December 31, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  68. ^ Official Top 40 Biggest Selling Albums of 2014 Archived January 1, 2015, at the Wayback Machine official charts.com. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  69. ^ Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year End Archived December 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine billboard.com. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  70. ^ "Alternative Albums: 2014 Year-End Charts". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on February 3, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2015.(subscription required)
  71. ^ "2014 Year End Charts – Hard Rock Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  72. ^ "2014 Year End Charts – Top Rock Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on February 3, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  73. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 100 Albums 2015". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on January 12, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  74. ^ Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year End Archived April 11, 2017, at the Wayback Machine billboard.com. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  75. ^ "2015 Year End Charts – Hard Rock Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 2, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  76. ^ "2015 Year End Charts – Top Rock Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on February 5, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  77. ^ "2015 Year End Charts – Soundtracks". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 28, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  78. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2014 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  79. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  80. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Music Canada. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  81. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Foo Fighters; 'Sonic Highways')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  82. ^ "Italian album certifications – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  83. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved August 5, 2018. Enter Sonic Highways in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  84. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  85. ^ Garner, George (July 17, 2017). "The Big Interview: Foo Fighters". Music Week. Intent Media. Archived from the original on January 10, 2021. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  86. ^ "British album certifications – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 14, 2014.

External links[edit]